Launch of classified NROL-79 mission delayed
Colorado-based United Launch Alliance (ULA) announced on Monday, Jan. 16, that the launch date of the Atlas V 401 rocket with the NROL-79 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office had fallen under review. ULA will use this additional time to ensure that the rocket will perform normally.
ULA made the following statement in an announcement released today: “The team is actively working to resolve Atlas V second stage booster issues discovered during vehicle testing.”
Once ULA has confirmed that the launch vehicle’s second stage has been deemed ready to support the flight, a new launch date will be announced. The mission is slated to fly out of Vandenberg Air Force Base’s Space Launch Complex 3E (East).
Interestingly, according to ULA, another Atlas V launch – that of the SBIRS GEO-3 satellite – which, according to a report appearing on Space News, is currently scheduled for launch on Thursday, Jan. 19, has not been affected. It remains set to take place at 7:46 p.m. EST (12:46 GMT) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 41 in Florida (pending final vehicle verification).
Jason Rhian spent several years honing his skills with internships at NASA, the National Space Society and other organizations. He has provided content for outlets such as: Aviation Week & Space Technology, Space.com, The Mars Society and Universe Today.