Spaceflight Insider

ULA confirms March 1 for launch attempt of NROL-79

Atlas V WorldView-3 File Photo. NROL-79 will also fly atop an Atlas V 401 rocket.

Archive photo of an Atlas V 401 with WorldView-3. Photo Credit: ULA

United Launch Alliance (ULA) has issued a statement announcing it is targeting a March 1, 2017, launch date for the flight of an Atlas V 401 rocket with a classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). The NROL-79 mission had been delayed before this due to issues with the Atlas V’s Centaur upper stage.

On Thursday, Feb. 9, ULA issued the following statement: “The Atlas V launch carrying the NROL-79 satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office is confirmed on the Western Range for March 1.”

This past January, ULA stated the NROL-79 mission would be delayed, noting: “The team is actively working to resolve Atlas V second stage booster issues discovered during vehicle testing.”

At the time, ULA had been working to ensure the Atlas V’s second stage has been deemed ready to support the flight. That problem appears to have been resolved and the mission is poised to fly out of Vandenberg Air Force Base’s Space Launch Complex 3E (East).

This will be ULA’s second launch of 11 planned for 2017. The first occurred Jan. 20, which saw an Atlas V launch the SBIRS GEO-3 spacecraft. That was also the first of four the company is expected to launch for the U.S. military (NROL-79 will be the second).




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,, The Mars Society and Universe Today.

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