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Atlas V rocket launches NRO mission into orbit Thursday afternoon from Florida

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A National Reconnaissance Office mission was successfully launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Thursday afternoon. The Air Force 45th Space Wing reports that a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carried the classified national security payload into orbit from Space Launch Complex 41 at 1:45 Thursday afternoon. It was the second Atlas launch this year from the Cape facilities and the 81st launch for the United Launch Alliance. The payload aboard the rocket was designed and constructed by the National Reconnaissance Office.

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In a press release, Brig. General Nina Armango, the 45th Space Wing commander and Launch Decision Authority for Thursday’s launch, said, “I am proud of the persistence and focus of the launch team, the wing, NRO, ULA and other mission partners, to make this launch happen. Our entire team worked together flawlessly once again to ensure mission success.”

In tweets Thursday afternoon, the United Launch Alliance reported that the Atlas V rocket reached Mach One around 1:45 Thursday afternoon, and the four solid rocket boosters were jettisoned after launch at around 1:47 p.m. The payload fairing, in which the mission hardware is enclosed before launch, was jettisoned around 1:49 p.m., according to the United Launch Alliance.

Click here to visit the 45th Space Wing website.

Click here to visit the United Launch Alliance website.

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