California, March 2: A new American spy satelliteNROL-79 was launched today from California which lifted off at 9:49 am in the morning from Vandenberg Air Force Base. The rocket launch was conducted by United Launch Alliance along with Lockheed Martin and Boeing and the Air Force’s 30th Space Wing.
The NROL-79 satellite was launched into space atop a two-stage United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket. NROL-79 belongs to the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), which builds and operates the country's fleet of spy satellites. Col. Chris Moss, 30th Space Wing commander said that “this successful launch is the result of outstanding teamwork between members of the 30th Space Wing and our partners at the National Reconnaissance Office and United Launch Alliance. The combined team delivered an important capability for the nation today. It was an exceptional effort.”
All systems were going well when the launch webcast concluded about five minutes into the flight, as is customary during such missions. The once-secret office operates an array of intelligence-gathering satellites.
Laura Maginnis, Vice President, said that “I am so impressed by the incredible teamwork between the NRO, U.S. Air Force our industry partners and the ULA team that resulted in today’s successful launch. The integrated mission team overcame many challenges this flow including delays associated with the Vandenberg Canyon Fire last year.”
These spacecraft are also known by their code name of INTRUDER. Together, the pair weighs about 14,330 pounds (6,500 kilograms) and provides intelligence to the NRO and U.S. Navy. This was the 70th flight of an Atlas V rocket and the 35 in the base 401 configuration since the first launch in 2002. It was the second West Coast launch of the year and ULA’s second flight of 2017.