United Launch Alliance releases a confidential National Reconnaissance Office spy satellite. It was on a Delta 4 Heavy space rocket on 26th April at 1:47 p.m. Pacific from Space Launch Complex-6 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. The flight of NROL-82, a confidential national security operation, celebrates ULA’s 1st release of the year.
The surface boosters of the three-core Delta 4 Heavy split about 4 minutes into the flight, followed by performing and detonation of the 2nd stage two minutes after. As per the government appeal, ULA ends the webcast about 7 minutes into the flight. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence corroborated on Twitter that the operation was effective.
The initial lift-off time for NROL-82 of 1:46 p.m. Pacific postpone by a minute due to a collision prevention alert. That one-minute window determines to be not safe to release because the path of the ascending rocket and cargo would pass too near another object in space.
NROL-82 is the 1st of four remaining Delta 4 Heavy operations that the Space Force signs with ULA. These are estimated to complete by 2024. ULA then intends to retire the Delta 4 Heavy and restore it with the latest Vulcan Centaur space rocket.
NROL-82 remains ULA’s 143rd operation and the 13th for the triple-core Delta 4 Heavy powered by 3 Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-68A core engines. The Delta 4 Heavy’s cryogenic 2nd phase is powered by the Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10B-2 engine.
ULA last release a Delta 4 Heavy on 10th December. That operation, NROL-44, suffers obstacles, including two last-second cancels due to causes which are:
- Issues with the ground equipment
- Which is at the release pad at Cape Canaveral, Florida
ULA CEO Tory Bruno informs correspondents in December that the firm pre-emptively examines and renovates the ground systems at Cape Canaveral and Vandenberg. This is in order to make sure the last four missions of the Delta 4 Heavy do not confront these difficulties again.