After long delays from last month, the ULA Delta IV heavy rocket takes off and positions the NROL-17 Spy satellite in orbit. The United Launch Alliance faced multiple technical and weather condition issues which forced the company to postpone the rocket launch. The Delta IV heavy rocket took off from the Vandenbergh Air Force base today morning with roaring boosters. Even though the launch is successful, it got tricky when the expected launch time was postponed by nearly five minutes. Fortunately, the issues were last minute, so there is not much impact on the mission.
After launch readiness review and the last minute adjustments, the United Launch Alliance’s Delta IV Heavy rockets took the NRO’s NROL-17 spy satellite in it’s high and elliptical orbit. The rocket took off with the NROL-17, which is the top-secret payload assigned by the National Reconnaissance Office of the United States of America. The rocket took off precisely at 11:10 a.m. American Time with five minutes delay. The mission success updates were delivered several minutes later after the actual end of the mission due to the secretive nature of the payloads.
The weather conditions were not perfect according to the standards required for the ideal launch. But the United Launch Alliance carried out the launch successfully in quite off weather. With the Wind speed of 10mph which is less than 70mph a few days ago. Just like any other rocket launch in the United States, people gathered on the sides of the road to capture the glimpse of flying Delta IV rocket. Unlike the SpaceX, this rocket does not land on the earth, but they fall in the water and can be reused for next missions. With this mission, the NROL-17 will be the new member in the fleet of spy satellites maintained by the National Reconnaissance Office of the United States of America.