List of NRO launches

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Official mission patch from NRO Launch-39

This is a list of NRO Launch (NROL) designations, i.e. satellites operated by the United States National Reconnaissance Office. Those missions are generally classified, so that their exact purposes and orbital elements are not published. However, amateur astronomers have managed to observe most of the satellites, and leaked information has emerged to identify many of the payloads.

Launch
Designation
Launch Name Satellite
Designation
Launch
Date/Time (GMT)
Launch Site Rocket Orbit Project Function Status Patch Remarks
L-1 Nemesis[1] USA-179[1] August 31, 2004
23:17[2]
CCAFS SLC-36A[2] Atlas IIAS[2] Molniya Quasar[1] Communications[2] Active NROL1 USA179 patch.jpg
L-2 USA-129 December 20, 1996
18:04
VAFB SLC-4E Titan IV LEO KH-11 Optical imaging
L-3 USA-133 October 24, 1997
02:32
VAFB SLC-4E Titan IV LEO Lacrosse ELINT Active
L-4 Oscar USA-136 November 8, 1997
02:05
CCAFS SLC-41 Titan IV Molniya Trumpet ELINT Active
L-5 Capricorn[1] USA-137[1] January 29, 1998
18:37
CCAFS SLC-36A Atlas IIA Molniya Quasar[1] Communications Active
L-6 Jack USA-139[3] May 9, 1998
01:38
CCAFS SLC-40 Titan IV/Centaur GSO Orion ELINT NROL6 USA139 patch.jpg
L-7 Elwood N/A August 12, 1998
11:30
CCAFS SLC-41 Titan IV/Centaur GSO (planned) Mercury ELINT Failed: 1998-08-12 "On a Mission from DoD" Rocket self-destructed 40 seconds into launch due to guidance problem[4]
L-8 USA-140, USA-141 October 3, 1998
10:04
VAFB LC-576E Taurus 1110 LEO STEX Technology ATEX experiment jettisoned on 1999-01-16 and catalogued as USA-141
L-9 USA-144[1] May 22, 1999
09:36[5]
VAFB SLC-4E[5] Titan IVB[5] Misty[1] Optical imaging[1] USA144Misty2patch.jpg First Titan IV-B launch from VAFB
L-10 Great Bear[1] USA-155[1] December 6, 2000
02:47[2]
CCAFS SLC-36A[2] Atlas IIAS[2] GSO[2] Quasar[1] Communications[2] Active NROL10 USA155 patch.jpg NROL10 2 patch sml.jpg
L-11 Onyx/Vega USA-152 August 17, 2000
23:45
VAFB SLC-4E Titan IVB LEO Lacrosse Radar imaging Active NRO L11 missionpatch.jpg Lacrosse4 L2 patch sml.jpg Lacrosse4 L patch.jpg
L-12 Aquila[1] USA-162[1] October 11, 2001
02:32[2]
CCAFS SLC-36B[2] Atlas IIAS[2] GSO[2] Quasar[1] Communications Active
L-13 Gemini[1] USA-160[1] September 8, 2001
15:25
VAFB SLC-3E[2] Atlas IIAS[2] LEO[2] Intruder[1] Naval reconnaissance[2] Active 2 satellites[2]
L-14 USA-161 October 5, 2001
21:21
VAFB SLC-4E Titan IVB LEO KH-11 Optical reconnaissance Active
L-15 USA-237 June 29, 2012
13:15[6]
CCAFS SLC-37B Delta IV Heavy (first RS-68A upgrade) GSO Mentor* ELINT Active * - or follow-on
L-16 Prometheus USA-182[3] April 30, 2005
00:50[7]
CCAFS SLC-40 Titan IVB LEO Lacrosse Radar imaging Active Lacrosse5 L patch.jpg Lacrosse5 M patch.jpg
L-17 GeoLITE[1] USA-158[1] May 18, 2001
17:45[8]
CCAFS SLC-17B[8] Delta II 7925-9.5[8] GSO[8] GeoLITE[1] Technology demonstration[8] Active
L-18 Libra[1] USA-173[1] December 2, 2003
10:04[2]
VAFB SLC-3E[2] Atlas IIAS[2] LEO[2] Intruder[1] Naval reconnaissance[2] Active 2 satellites[2]
L-19 Homer[9] USA-171[3] September 9, 2003
04:29[10]
CCAFS SLC-40 Titan IVB/Centaur GSO Orion ELINT Active NROL19 USA171 patch.jpg NROL 19 patch sml.jpg
L-20 USA-186[3] October 19, 2005
18:05[11]
VAFB SLC-4E Titan IVB LEO KH-11 Optical imaging Active NROL20 USA186 patch.jpg
L-21 USA-193[1] December 14, 2006
21:00[8]
VAFB SLC-2W[8] Delta II 7920-10[8] LEO[8] Unknown Unknown Failed USA193patch.jpg Failed immediately after launch. Destroyed by ASAT on 2008-02-21.
L-22 USA-184[1] June 28, 2006
03:33
VAFB SLC-6 Delta IV M+(4,2) Molniya Improved Trumpet[1] ELINT Active NROL22 USA184 patch.jpg
L-23 Canis Minor[1] USA-181[1] February 3, 2005
07:41
CCAFS SLC-36B Atlas IIIB LEO Intruder[1] Naval reconnaissance Active NROL23 NOSS3 3patch.jpg NROL23 NOSS3 3 L patch.jpg 2 satellites
L-24 Scorpius[1] USA-198[1] December 10, 2007
22:05
CCAFS SLC-41 Atlas V 401 Molniya Quasar[1] Communications Active NROL24 USA198 patch.jpg NROL24 USA198 L patch.jpg
L-25 Altair USA-234 April 3, 2012
23:12[12][13]
VAFB SLC-6 Delta IV M+(5,2) Retrograde LEO [14] Topaz Radar imaging Active NROL-25-patch.jpg
L-26 USA-202 January 18, 2009
02:47
CCAFS SLC-37B Delta IV Heavy GSO Orion ELINT Active NROL26 USA202 patch.jpg NROL26 USA202 L patch.jpg
L-27 Gryphon[9] USA-227 March 11, 2011
23:38
CCAFS SLC-37B Delta IV M+(4,2) GSO Quasar Communications Active NROL 27 patch sml.jpg NROL27 2 patch sml.jpg
L-28 USA-200 March 13, 2008
10:02
VAFB SLC-3E Atlas V 411 Molniya Improved Trumpet[15] ELINT Active NROL28 USA200 patch.jpg USA200patch.jpg
L-29 N/A VAFB SLC-3E Atlas V 521 [16] Cancelled
L-30 Pyxis[1] USA-194[1] June 15, 2007
15:12
CCAFS SLC-41 Atlas V 401[1] LEO Intruder[1] Naval reconnaissance Active NROL30 NOSS3 4patch.jpg 2 satellites
Premature 2nd stage cutoff during launch. Lifetime reduced by need to correct orbit
L-32[17] USA-223 November 21, 2010
22:58[18]
CCAFS SLC-37B Delta IV Heavy GSO Orion[19] ELINT Operational NROL32 patch.jpg NROL-32 Patch.png
L-33[20] USA-252 May 22, 2014
13:09
CCAFS SLC-41 Atlas V 401 GSO Quasar Communications Active
L-34 Odin[21] USA-229 April 15, 2011
04:24
VAFB SLC-3E[18] Atlas V 411[18] LEO Intruder Naval SIGINT Operational[22] NROL 34 patch.jpg Two satellites
L-35 USA-259 December 13, 2014
03:19
VAFB SLC-3E Atlas V 541 Molniya Trumpet (third generation)[15] ELINT Active NROL35.jpg First flight of the RL10C-1 rocket engine, used by the Centaur upper stage
L-36[23] USA-238[24] September 13, 2012
21:39[13]
VAFB SLC-3E Atlas V 401[25] Low Earth Intruder SIGINT Launched

NROL-36 Logo.jpg

Two satellites sharing a designation
L-37[26] USA-268 June 11, 2016
17:51
CCAFS SLC-37B Delta IV Heavy GSO Orion SIGINT[27] Launched

Mission patch for NROL-37 "The NROL37 mission patch depicts a knight, a symbol of courage with a chivalrous code of conduct representing bravery, training, and service to others. The knight stands in front of the U.S. flag in a defensive posture as to protect at all cost. The eagle on the chest is a symbol of both freedom and the United States of America. The sword is a message of tenacious, fierce focus with the claws representing extreme reach with global coverage." description by National Reconnaissance Office

Likely the seventh so called Mentor/Orion satellite for the National Security Agency.[15]
L-38[28] Drake [29] USA-236 June 20, 2012
12:28[13]
CCAFS SLC-41 Atlas V 401 GSO Quasar Communications Active National Reconnaissance Office NROL-38 launch patch.jpg
L-39[30] USA-247 December 6, 2013
07:14[31]
VAFB SLC-3E Atlas V 501 Low Earth Topaz Radar imaging Active Mission "patch" of NROL-39: an octopus grabbing the earth's globe, labeled "Nothing is beyond our reach"
L-41[17] Gladys[9] USA-215[1] September 21, 2010
04:03[18]
VAFB SLC-3E Atlas V 501 LEO (retrograde)[32] 1058 x 1072 km [33] Topaz Radar imaging Operational NROL 41 patch.jpg NROL 41 Gladys patch sml.jpg
L-42[34] TBD June 13, 2017[35] VAFB SLC-3E Atlas V 541 Molniya Trumpet (third generation)[15] ELINT Awaiting launch
L-44[34] TBD 2019 CCAFS SLC-37B Delta IV Heavy Awaiting launch
L-45[30] USA-267 February 10, 2016 11:40 VAFB SLC-6 Delta IV M+(5,2) LEO (retrograde)[36] 1084 x 1086 km x 123 deg[37] Topaz Radar imaging Launched 2016-02-10-020216-350x341.jpg
L-47 TBD October 3, 2017[35] VAFB SLC-6 Delta IV M+(5,2) LEO (retrograde) Topaz[15] Radar imaging Awaiting launch
L-49[17] Betty[9] USA-224 January 20, 2011
21:10[38]
VAFB SLC-6 Delta IV Heavy LEO 239 x 1005 km[39] KH-11[38] Optical imaging Operational NROL49 patch.jpg NROL49 2 patch sml.jpg
L-52[34] TBD August 31, 2017[35] CCAFS SLC-41 Atlas V 421 GSO Quasar 21[15] Communications Awaiting launch
L-55[34] USA-264 October 8, 2015
12:49
VAFB SLC-3E Atlas V 401 LEO 1000 x 1200 km x 63.4°[40] Intruder Naval SIGINT ELINT[15] Launched Mission "patch" of NROL-55: a weapon smith (Hephaestus) is forging a sword. "SUSTENTANTES BELLATORES DE CÆLIS" means something like "In sustained support for the warriors, from the sky/or heaven" two classified satellites (NROL-55) and 13 cubesats.
L-61[34] Spike[41] USA-269 July 28, 2016

12:37[42]

CCAFS SLC-41 Atlas V 421 GSO[43] Quasar 20[43][15] Communications Launched The NROL-61 logo/mission patch depicts a green lizard, Spike, riding an Atlas 5 launch vehicle. The stars represents the teams from various agencies who contributed to the project.
L-65[44] USA-245 August 28, 2013
18:03
VAFB SLC-6 Delta IV Heavy LEO KH-11 Optical imaging Launched
L-66[45] USA-225 February 6, 2011
12:26
VAFB SLC-8 Minotaur I LEO RPP Technology Operational NROL-66 Patch.png
L-67 [46] USA-250 April 10, 2014
17:45
CCAFS SLC-41 Atlas V 541 Launched
L-68[27] TBD 2021 CCAFS SLC-37B Delta IV Heavy Awaiting launch
L-70[27] TBD 2022 CCAFS SLC-37B Delta IV Heavy Awaiting launch
L-71[34] TBD 2018 VAFB SLC-6 Delta IV Heavy Awaiting launch
L-76[47] USA-276 May 1, 2017[48]
11:15
Kennedy LC-39A Falcon 9 Full Thrust LEO[49][50] Launched NROL-76 mission patch.jpg
L-79[34][51] USA-274 March 1, 2017
17:50[52]
VAFB SLC-3E Atlas V 401 LEO Intruder 8[15] Naval reconnaissance Launched NROL-79 patch.jpg two classified satellites sharing a designation
L-82[27][53] TBD July 2020[54] VAFB SLC-6 Delta IV Heavy Electro-optical surveillance Awaiting launch
L-91[53] TBD 2023 VAFB SLC-6 Delta IV Heavy Awaiting launch
L-101[34] TBD August 2020[54] CCAFS SLC-41 Atlas V 551 Awaiting launch
Launch
Designation
Launch Name Satellite
Designation
Launch
Date/Time (GMT)
Launch Site Rocket Orbit Project Function Status Patch Remarks

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al Steven Pietrobon's Space Archive – US Military Launch Record. None. Retrieved on September 15, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x Encyclopedia Astronautica – Atlas IIAS. Astronautix.com. Retrieved on September 15, 2011.
  3. ^ a b c d NRO codenames. Forum.nasaspaceflight.com. Retrieved on September 15, 2011.
  4. ^ National Reconnaissance Office Satellite Destroyed August 19, 1998
  5. ^ a b c National Reconnaissance Satellite Successfully Launched May 22, 1999
  6. ^ Space Videos (June 29, 2012). "[Delta] Launch of Delta IV Heavy with NROL-15 Payload" – via YouTube. 
  7. ^ NRO Successfully Launches Last Titan from Cape Canaveral April 29, 2005
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i Encyclopedia Astronautica – Delta 7000 Archived March 7, 2008, on Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ a b c d "Re: NROL codenames". nasaspaceflight.com. 2011-01-22. 
  10. ^ NRO SUCCESSFULLY LAUNCHES PAYLOAD FROM TITAN IV September 10, 2003
  11. ^ NRO Payload Takes Last Ride Aboard Titan IV October 20, 2005
  12. ^ "Spaceflight Now - Delta Launch Report - Mission Status Center". 
  13. ^ a b c Spaceflight Now: Worldwide launch schedule. Spaceflightnow.com. Retrieved on Feb 3, 2012.
  14. ^ "Spaceflight Now - Delta Launch Report - Launch warnings show Delta 4 headed for backwards orbit". 
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i Krebs, Gunter. "NROL launches". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 2016-12-08. 
  16. ^ http://www.comspacewatch.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=16796
  17. ^ a b c Spaceflight Now: Worldwide launch schedule. Spaceflightnow.com. Retrieved on September 15, 2011.
  18. ^ a b c d Atlas Launch Report | Mission Status Center. Spaceflight Now. Retrieved on September 15, 2011.
  19. ^ Delta IV Heavy launches with NROL-32. NASASpaceFlight.com (2010-11-21). Retrieved on September 15, 2011.
  20. ^ http://msdb.gsfc.nasa.gov/MissionData.php?mission=NROL-33
  21. ^ :::: United Launch Alliance, LLC ::::. Ulalaunch.com. Retrieved on September 15, 2011.
  22. ^ [1][dead link]
  23. ^ "Technical details for satellite USA 238". 
  24. ^ "NASA - NSSDCA - Spacecraft - Details". 
  25. ^ http://www.ulalaunch.com/site/pages/Launch.shtml#/30/
  26. ^ "Triple-barrel Delta 4-Heavy launches national security satellite". Spaceflight Now. 11 June 2016. Retrieved 12 June 2016. 
  27. ^ a b c d Ray, Justin (June 7, 2016). "Surveillance satellite launching Thursday atop Delta 4-Heavy rocket". Spaceflight Now. 
  28. ^ http://msdb.gsfc.nasa.gov/MissionData.php?mission=NROL-38
  29. ^ http://www.spaceflightnow.com/atlas/av023/images/NROL38logo.jpg
  30. ^ a b "18 -- Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) - Federal Business Opportunities: Opportunities". 
  31. ^ NRO Press Release 2013-04
  32. ^ Barhorst, Leo (2010-10-01). "Reason for FIA Radar 1/USA 215 retrograde orbit?". Retrieved 2010-10-02. 
  33. ^ Molczan, Ted (2010-09-22). "NROL 41". Retrieved 2010-10-02. 
  34. ^ a b c d e f g h "2016 manifest preview: United Launch Alliance's busy year ahead". Spaceflight Now. 20 April 2015. Retrieved 24 April 2015. 
  35. ^ a b c Clark, Stephen (8 December 2016). "Spaceflight Now — Launch schedule". Spaceflight Now. Archived from the original on December 24, 2016. Retrieved 8 December 2016. 
  36. ^ "ULA Delta IV launches with NROL-45 | NASASpaceFlight.com". www.nasaspaceflight.com. Retrieved 2016-02-11. 
  37. ^ McDowell, Jonathan (2016-02-10). "Twitter". Retrieved 2016-02-13. TOPAZ 4 (USA 267) has been observed by hobbyist @cgbassa in a 1084 x 1086 km x 123 deg orbit following today's launch from Vandenberg 
  38. ^ a b Graham, William (2011-01-20). "Delta IV Heavy launches on debut West Coast launch with NRO L-49". NASA Spaceflight. Retrieved 2011-01-21. 
  39. ^ Molczan, Ted (2011-01-22). "RE: NROL-49 search elements". 
  40. ^ Graham, William (2015-10-07). "NROL-55 takes a ride uphill on ULA Atlas V". NASA Spaceflight. 
  41. ^ Ray, Justin (July 28, 2016). "Spy satellite infrastructure supported by successful Atlas 5 rocket launch". Spaceflight Now. 
  42. ^ Graham, William (2016-07-28). "Atlas V successfully launches NROL-61 reconnaissance satellite". NASA Spaceflight. Retrieved 2016-07-28. 
  43. ^ a b "NROL-61 satellite launched Thursday spotted in space by sky-watchers". Spaceflight Now. July 30, 2016. 
  44. ^ http://msdb.gsfc.nasa.gov/MissionData.php?mission=NROL-65
  45. ^ Graham, William (2011-02-06). "Orbital's Minotaur I launches with NROL-66". nasaspaceflight.com. 
  46. ^ "United Launch Alliance Successfully Launches Second Mission in Just Seven Days". United Launch Alliance. Retrieved 2014-04-11. 
  47. ^ Gruss, Mike. "NRO discloses previously unannounced launch contract for SpaceX". SpaceNews. Retrieved 19 May 2016. 
  48. ^ Clark, Stephen (6 April 2017). "Launch schedule". Spaceflight Now. Archived from the original on December 24, 2016. Retrieved 9 March 2017. 
  49. ^ Klotz, Irene (30 April 2017). "Secret US Spy Satellite Heading to Low-Earth Orbit, SpaceX Launch License Shows". Space.com. Retrieved 30 April 2017. 
  50. ^ Clark, Stephen (May 24, 2017). "Observers spot top secret satellite launched by SpaceX earlier this month". Spacefligh Now. Retrieved May 25, 2017. 
  51. ^ USAF. "EELV PHASE 1A NROL-79 Request For Proposal". 
  52. ^ "United Launch Alliance Successfully Launches NROL-79 Payload for the National Reconnaissance Office". 
  53. ^ a b Gruss, Mike (8 August 2016). "No complaint from SpaceX as Air Force skips competition for pair of NRO missions". SpaceNews. Retrieved 10 August 2016. In its announcement, the Defense Department said it plans to award a formal contract for the first mission, known as NROL-82, later this year for a 2020 launch. It also plans to award a contract for the second mission, known as NROL-91, in late 2017 with a tentative launch date of 2023. 
  54. ^ a b Ray, Justin (2 April 2017). "United Launch Alliance wins three U.S. government satellite launches". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 2 April 2017. 

External links[edit]

  • [Link dead] The Current NSS Launch Manifest, 2001–2020 (page 83)
  • [2] National Security Space Launch Report (pages 112)