Delta IV Rocket Launches From California Coast


United Launch Alliance (ULA) again postponed on Thursday the launch of the a Delta IV rocket with a spy satellite for the US National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), an ULA official said during the online liftoff coverage on the company's website.

While details about the payload are classified, groups of amateur satellite trackers can use clues to narrow down the nature of the satellite, including its likely orbit and technology.

"The National Reconnaissance Office said on Twitter: "#NROL47 will carry a national security payload designed, built and operated by the NRP. This latest mission patch is part of a long tradition of just plainly weird patches that the NRO issues for each classified launch. The rocket's second stage is propelled by an RL-10 engine.

The launch will be the agency's first in 2018 at the air base northwest of Santa Barbara.

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Little is known about the payload other than the fact that ULA is launching it for the NRO.

The launch provider United Launch Alliance (ULA) subsequently delayed it by 24 hours.

Orbital ATK provided two 60-inch diameter Graphite Epoxy Motors (GEM 60) for the Delta IV rocket. These have been used on the Delta IV since its initial flight in 2002. "We are proud to provide this national defense capability and every Team V member involved has tirelessly worked to ensure the launch is safe and successful". It performs launch services for the USA government at Vandenberg and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Florida. At present, that mission is scheduled to get underway on Thursday, Jan. 18 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex 41 located in Floridae launch is scheduled for Jan. 18 from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.