Photos: Atlas V blasts off with secretive NRO Payload

Thundering into orbit for the 70th time, ULA’s Atlas V rocket took to the skies on Wednesday, blasting off from California to haul a secret payload into orbit for the U.S. government. Nametagged NROL-79, the mission likely involved a pair of naval surveillance satellites under operation by the National Reconnaissance Office as part of a long-standing program dating back to the 1970s.

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All Photos: United Launch Alliance