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SMC successfully launches NRO payload aboard a ULA Delta IV Heavy launch vehicle


The U.S. Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center Launch Enterprise team and its partners successfully launched the National Reconnaissance Office Launch (NROL)-44 mission at 8:09 p.m. EDTDec. 10 from the newly rechristened Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Launch Complex-37 in Florida aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket.


“It takes a dedicated and highly-skilled industry and Government team to ensure a successful launch for this one-of-a-kind national asset,” said Col. Robert Bongiovi, director of SMC’s Launch Enterprise. “We are thrilled to celebrate our 84th consecutive successful launch made possible through our proven mission assurance program.”


The Delta IV Heavy launch vehicle has been the workhorse for the NRO’s heaviest satellites for the past decade. This is the seventh USSF launch this year and the NRO’s second mission from CCSFS in more than two years.


“Congratulations to our NRO, ULA, and 45th Space Wing team for a successful NROL-44 launch,” said Col. Erin Gulden, chief of SMC’s Launch Enterprise Atlas and Delta branch. “This NRO mission marks 10 out of 10 successful National Security Space Vehicles we have launched aboard a ULA Delta IV Heavy rocket since 2009. We look forward to continuing our NRO partnership launching national security payloads with the final four Delta IV Heavy launches.”


The U.S. Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center, located at Los Angeles Air Force Base in El Segundo, California, is the center of excellence for acquiring and developing military space systems. SMC’s portfolio includes space launch, global positioning systems, military satellite communications, a defense meteorological satellite control network, range systems, space-based infrared systems, and space situational awareness capabilities.

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