A robust Delta 4 Heavy rocket carrying a U.S. spy satellite lifted off Saturday from California. The rocket-propelled the National Reconnaissance Office satellite from Vandenberg Air Drive Base at 11:10 a.m. Pacific time, arcing over the Pacific Ocean west of Los Angeles because it headed towards the area.
The outer boosters of the rocket separated about four minutes into the flight, adopted shortly by separation of the central first-stage booster and profitable ignition of the higher stage. As is customary with categorized payloads, United Launch Alliance webcast the lift-off solely till the aerodynamic fairing protecting the payload was discarded.
Particulars of the mission, dubbed NROL-71, weren’t launched. The launch had been repeatedly delayed since late last year for numerous causes together with a hydrogen leak, excessive winds and an issue with floor communication tools. The National Reconnaissance Office is accountable for U.S. intelligence satellites. United Launch Alliance is a collaboration of Lockheed Martin and Boeing. The Delta 4 Heavy stands 233 feet (71 meters) tall.