July 18, 2024
1 Solar System Way, Planet Earth, USA

SpaceX launches second batch of satellites for proliferated NRO constellation

WASHINGTON – A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched the NROL-186 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office on June 28.

The rocket lifted off at 11:14 p.m. Eastern time from Space Launch Complex 4 East at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.

NROL-186 was the second batch of satellites in a new constellation of imaging satellites built by SpaceX and Northrop Grumman. The number of satellites was not revealed.

Just over eight minutes after liftoff, the first-stage booster landed on an unmanned spacecraft, marking the company's 326th booster landing to date.

The NRO designs and operates secret surveillance and intelligence satellites for the United States government. a little over a month ago SpaceX launched the first batch of the agency's proliferated constellation in low Earth orbit.

This shows the “persistent pace of implementation expected with this program,” NRO Director Chris Scolese said June 29 in a statement.

“Our new and expanded systems enhance our ability to collect and deliver critical information,” he said.

About half a dozen launches supporting NRO's proliferated architecture are planned through 2024, with additional launches expected through 2028.

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology, and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as editor of NDIA's National Defense Journal…

(tags to translate)NRO

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