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ULA's Atlas V rocket launched its final NRO mission
"SILENTBARKER/NROL107 will strengthen the NRO's ability to provide a wide range of timely intelligence information to national decision makers, warfighters, and intelligence analysts to protect the nation's vital interests and support humanitarian efforts worldwide. the description adds. Photo by C&J Images for Space Daily.
ULA's Atlas V rocket launched its final NRO mission
by Charles Briggs
Space Coast FL (SPX) Sep 11, 2023

After a series of delays due to Hurricane Ida and "an issue found during a pre-launch ordnance circuit continuity check", for the first time in almost 11 months, a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket took off from Florida's Space Launch Complex 41 (SLC-41), Cape Canaveral Space Force Station (CCSFS), on Sunday at 8:47 a.m. EDT (1247 UTC).

This marks the second launch of the year for ULA and the 18th and final launch of a National Reconnaissance Office mission on an Atlas V.

Silent Barker, also known as NROL-107, is a joint mission for the United States' National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) and United States Space Force (USSF).

According to a ULA mission description, the satellite will provide "the capability to search, detect, and track objects from a space-based sensor for timely custody and event detection."

"SILENTBARKER/NROL107 will strengthen the NRO's ability to provide a wide range of timely intelligence information to national decision makers, warfighters, and intelligence analysts to protect the nation's vital interests and support humanitarian efforts worldwide. the description adds.

The specifics of satellite operation, intended purpose, and number of payloads were not disclosed to the public due to the classified nature of the mission and payload operators.

Atlas V's configuration for this mission is 551, consisting of two stages powered by a Russian RD-180 engine and accompanied by five strap-on solid rocket boosters (SRB). The heavy-lift rocket produces 10,000 lbs of thrust,which is why it is frequently referred to as "The Bruiser".

After this mission, Atlas will fly 18 more times before retirement, which will then be replaced by the next-generation 202-foot-tall (67-meter) Vulcan rocket.

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