Video: Atlas V blasts off with Classified NRO Satellite

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V 541 rocket lifted off from Space Launch Complex 3E, Vandenberg Air Force Base at 5:49:47 UTC on Sunday, September 24, 2017, carrying into orbit the classified NROL-42 payload for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office – the secretive government agency tasked with the operation of the nation’s intelligence-gathering satellites. Believed to be the second in a new generation of signals intelligence spacecraft, NROL-42 was headed into a highly elliptical orbit with optimized coverage of the northern regions to complement spy satellites placed in Geostationary Orbit over the equator.

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