NRO unveils plans to launch anonymous SpaceX earlier this month – Spaceflight Now

File photo of the launch of the Falcon 9 rocket from Pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Credit: SpaceX

The National Reconnaissance Office has confirmed that it will launch a payload on the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral later this month, a mission on the SpaceX program that was not recently made public. .

A regulatory filing with the Federal Communications Commission recently revealed plans to launch SpaceX from Cap Canaveral on October 25. But the mission details in the filing do not match any known launch on SpaceX’s schedule, suggesting that the launch could take one. National security pay for the US government.

Earlier, SpaceX had launched national security missions, before it was announced until the final stages of launch preparations. Zuma Mission, a mysterious payroll launched for the U.S. government in January 2018, was not publicly listed in any initial program or contract announcements until the final weeks before its planned lift.

In response to a question from Spaceflight Now, an NRO spokesman confirmed Monday that it has customers to launch the Falcon 9 before October 25.

NRO owns a fleet of spy satellites that collect US government intelligence, provides metaphors, indicates intelligence, and other data.

Following its specific policy for public disclosures, the NRO did not release any payroll information on the Falcon 9 flight later this month. But NROs and U.S. military officials generally reveal the existence of NRO missions from many years ago.

An NRO spokesman said the Falcon 9 mission is scheduled for NRL-108, and will be launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The NRO said in 2018 that the Zuma mission, which failed shortly after launch, was not affiliated with the agency. If this situation persists, it probably doesn’t look like the NRL-108 mission is a change for Zuma, despite the similarities between how the missions were publicly disclosed.

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The information disclosed in SpaceX’s FCC filing, which calls for the operation of official radio transmitters for the mission, indicates that the first phase of the Falcon 9 will return to Cape Canaveral after a one-touch down of Booster Landing Zone 1.

On many SpaceX launches, the Falcon 9 Booster is in a position to land several hundred miles off the coast of a drone. For the first stage, the drone does not need to reserve so much propellant to land on the ship, but to do the reverse course and return to the sea shore near the launch site, more oil has to be allocated.

Plans for a booster to return to Cape Canaveral for the NRL-108 mission suggest that it intends to invest its paycheck in low-altitude bit rabbits, or that the satellite (or satellite) will be optimally lighter.

The NRL-108 launch is one of three missions for the National Reconnaissance Office that could explode from Cape Canaveral this month.

A classified payload awaits a lift off the United Launch Alliance Delta 4-Heavy from Pad 37B on Florida Spaceport. The mission, codenamed NRL-44, was supposed to be launched in late August, but the launch pad is based on a series of equipment problems.

The most recent initial attempt on September 30 ended seven seconds before the lift when an automatic countdown down sequence began the abortion. The ULA has not announced a start date for the new target.

Meanwhile, ULA teams at Pad 41 are preparing to launch the Atlas 5 rocket with the NRL-101 mission later this month, ready to launch another classified NRO spy satellite.

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Raven Weber

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