List of NRO launches

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The National Reconnaissance Office logo

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 led to the identification of many of the payloads.

Launch statistics[edit]

Launch vehicle families[edit]

  •   Titan
  •   Atlas
  •   Taurus/Minotaur
  •   Delta
  •   Falcon
  •   Electron
  •   Antares

Launch sites[edit]

  •   Vandenberg (CA)
  •   Cape Canaveral (FL)
  •   Kennedy (FL)
  •   Wallops Island (VA)
  •   Mahia (New Zealand)

Launch history[edit]

Launch
designation
Payload
nickname
Satellite
designation
Date/Time (UTC) Launch site Rocket Orbit Project Function Status Patch Remarks
L-1 Nemesis [1] USA-179 31 August 2004
23:17 [2]
CCAFS, SLC-36A [2] Atlas IIAS Molniya Quasar Communications Active NROL-1 Mission Patch.png
L-2 USA-129 20 December 1996
18:04
VAFB, SLC-4E Titan IV LEO KH-11 Optical imaging Reentered 24 April 2014. [3]
L-3 USA-133 24 October 1997
02:32
VAFB, SLC-4E Titan IV LEO Lacrosse ELINT Active
L-4 Oscar USA-136 8 November 1997
02:05
CCAFS, SLC-41 Titan IV/Centaur Molniya Trumpet ELINT Active NROL-4 Mission Patch.png
L-5 Capricorn [1] USA-137 29 January 1998
18:37
CCAFS, SLC-36A Atlas IIA Molniya Quasar Communications Active NROL-5 Mission Patch.png
L-6 Jack USA-139 [4] 9 May 1998
01:38
CCAFS, SLC-40 Titan IV/Centaur GSO Orion ELINT Successful NROL-6 Dragon Mission Patch.png
L-7 Elwood N/A 12 August 1998
11:30
CCAFS, SLC-41 Titan IV/Centaur GSO (planned) Mercury ELINT Destroyed "Cheers! Saving the Best for Last!!" Rocket self-destructed 40 seconds into launch due to guidance problem.[5]
L-8 USA-140, USA-141 3 October 1998
10:04
VAFB, LC-576E Taurus 1110 LEO STEX Technology Successful NROL-8 Mission Patch.png ATEX experiment jettisoned on 16 January 1999 and catalogued as USA-141.
L-9 USA-144 [1] 22 May 1999
09:36 [6]
VAFB, SLC-4E [6] Titan IVB Misty Optical imaging Successful NROL-9 Mission Patch.png First Titan IV-B launch from VAFB.
L-10 Ursa Major [1]
(Great Bear)
USA-155 6 December 2000
02:47 [2]
CCAFS, SLC-36A Atlas IIAS GSO Quasar Communications Active NROL-10 Mission Patch.png
L-11 Onyx / Vega USA-152 17 August 2000
23:45
VAFB, SLC-4E Titan IVB LEO Lacrosse Radar imaging Active NROL-11 Mission Patch.png

NROL-11 Mission Patch Alternate.png
L-12 Aquila [1] USA-162 11 October 2001
02:32 [2]
CCAFS, SLC-36B Atlas IIAS GSO Quasar Communications Active NROL-12 Mission Patch.png
L-13 Gemini [1] USA-160 8 September 2001
15:25
VAFB, SLC-3E [2] Atlas IIAS LEO Intruder Naval reconnaissance Active NROL-13 Mission Patch.png Two satellites.
L-14 USA-161 5 October 2001
21:21
VAFB, SLC-4E Titan IVB LEO KH-11 Optical reconnaissance Reentered late 2014. [7] NROL-14 Mission Patch.png
L-15 USA-237 29 June 2012
13:15 [8]
CCAFS, SLC-37B Delta IV Heavy
(first RS-68A upgrade)
GSO Mentor * ELINT Active NROL-15 Mission Patch.png * or follow-on.
L-16 Prometheus USA-182 [4] 30 April 2005
00:50 [9]
CCAFS, SLC-40 Titan IVB LEO Lacrosse Radar imaging Active NROL-16 Mission Patch.png
L-17 GeoLITE [1] USA-158 18 May 2001
17:45 [10]
CCAFS, SLC-17B Delta II 7925-9.5 GSO GeoLITE Technology demonstration Active NROL-17 Mission Patch.png
L-18 Libra [1] USA-173 2 December 2003
10:04 [2]
VAFB, SLC-3E Atlas IIAS LEO Intruder Naval reconnaissance Active NROL-18 Mission Patch.png Two satellites.
L-19 Homer [11] USA-171 [4] 9 September 2003
04:29 [12]
CCAFS, SLC-40 Titan IVB-Centaur GSO Orion ELINT Active NROL-19 Mission Patch.png
L-20 USA-186 [4] 19 October 2005
18:05 [13]
VAFB, SLC-4E Titan IVB LEO KH-11 Optical imaging Active NROL-20 Mission Patch.png Last launch of a Titan rocket.
L-21 USA-193 [1] 14 December 2006
21:00 [10]
VAFB, SLC-2W Delta II 7920-10 LEO Unknown Unknown Failed; intentionally destroyed in 2008. NROL-21 Mission Patch.png Failed immediately after launch. Destroyed by ASAT on 21 February 2008.
L-22 USA-184 [1] 28 June 2006
03:33
VAFB, SLC-6 Delta IV M+(4,2) Molniya Improved Trumpet ELINT Active NROL-22 Mission Patch.png
L-23 Canis Minor [1] USA-181 3 February 2005
07:41
CCAFS, SLC-36B Atlas IIIB LEO Intruder Naval reconnaissance Active NROL-23 Mission Patch.png Two satellites.
L-24 Scorpius [1] USA-198 10 December 2007
22:05
CCAFS, SLC-41 Atlas V 401 Molniya Quasar Communications Active NROL-24 Mission Patch.png
L-25 Altair USA-234 3 April 2012
23:12 [14][15]
VAFB, SLC-6 Delta IV M+(5,2) Retrograde LEO [16] Topaz Radar imaging Active NROL-25 Mission Patch.png
L-26 USA-202 18 January 2009
02:47
CCAFS, SLC-37B Delta IV Heavy GSO Orion ELINT Active NROL-26 Mission Patch.png
L-27 Gryphon [11] USA-227 11 March 2011
23:38
CCAFS, SLC-37B Delta IV M+(4,2) GSO Quasar Communications Active NROL-27 Mission Patch.png
L-28 USA-200 13 March 2008
10:02
VAFB, SLC-3E Atlas V 411 Molniya Improved Trumpet [17] ELINT Active NROL-28 Mission Patch.png
L-29 N/A VAFB, SLC-3E Atlas V 521 [18] Canceled
L-30 Pyxis [1] USA-194 15 June 2007
15:12
CCAFS, SLC-41 Atlas V 401 LEO Intruder Naval reconnaissance Active NROL-30 Mission Patch.png Two satellites.
Premature 2nd stage cutoff during launch. Lifetime reduced by need to correct orbit.
L-32 [19] USA-223 21 November 2010
22:58 [20]
CCAFS, SLC-37B Delta IV Heavy GSO Orion [21] ELINT Operational NROL-32 Patch.png
L-33 [22] USA-252 22 May 2014
13:09
CCAFS, SLC-41 Atlas V 401 GSO Quasar Communications Active NROL-33 mission patch.png
L-34 Odin[23] USA-229 15 April 2011
04:24
VAFB, SLC-3E [20] Atlas V 411 LEO Intruder Naval SIGINT Operational [24] NROL-34 Mission Patch.png Two satellites.
L-35 Jacquelyn USA-259 13 December 2014
03:19
VAFB, SLC-3E Atlas V 541 Molniya Trumpet (third generation)[17] ELINT Active NROL-35 Mission Patch.png First flight of the RL10C-1 rocket engine, used by the Centaur upper stage
L-36 [25] USA-238 [26] 13 September 2012
21:39[15]
VAFB, SLC-3E Atlas V 401 [27] LEO Intruder SIGINT Launched NROL-36 Mission Patch.png Two satellites sharing a designation.
L-37 [28] USA-268 June 11, 2016
17:51
CCAFS, SLC-37B Delta IV Heavy GSO Orion SIGINT [29] Launched NROL-37 Mission Patch.png Likely the seventh so called Mentor/Orion satellite for the National Security Agency.[17]
L-38 [30] Drake USA-236 20 June 2012
12:28 [15]
CCAFS, SLC-41 Atlas V 401 GSO Quasar Communications Active NROL-38 Mission Patch.png
L-39 [31] USA-247 6 December 2013
07:14 [32]
VAFB, SLC-3E Atlas V 501 LEO Topaz Radar imaging Active NROL 39 vector logo.svg
L-41 [19] Gladys [11] USA-215 [1] 21 September 2010
04:03 [20]
VAFB, SLC-3E Atlas V 501 LEO (retrograde) [33]
1058 × 1072 km [34]
Topaz Radar imaging Operational NROL-41 Mission Patch.png
L-42 [35] USA-278 24 September 2017
05:49:47
VAFB, SLC-3E Atlas V 541 Molniya Trumpet (third generation) [17] ELINT Operational [36] NROL-42 Mission Patch.png
L-44 [35] - November 2020
02:00 [37]
CCAFS, SLC-37B Delta IV Heavy GSO Orion [17] SIGINT [29] Awaiting launch NROL-44 Mission Patch.png
L-45 [31] USA-267 10 February 2016
11:40
VAFB, SLC-6 Delta IV M+(5,2) LEO (retrograde) [38]
1084 x 1086 km x 123° [39]
Topaz Radar imaging Launched NROL-45 Mission Patch Alternate Version.png

NROL-45 Logo.png
L-47 USA-281 12 January 2018
22:11
VAFB, SLC-6 Delta IV M+(5,2) LEO (retrograde) Topaz [17] Radar imaging Launched NROL-47Patch.png
L-49 [19] Betty[11] USA-224 20 January 2011
21:10 [40]
VAFB, SLC-6 Delta IV Heavy LEO 239 x 1005 km [41] KH-11 Optical imaging Operational NROL-49 Mission Patch.png
L-52 [35] USA-279 15 October 2017
07:28
CCAFS, SLC-41 Atlas V 421 GSO Quasar 21 [17] Communications Launched NROL-52 Mission Patch.png
L-55 [35] USA-264 8 October 2015
12:49
VAFB, SLC-3E Atlas V 401 LEO 1000 x 1200 km x 63.4° [42] Intruder Naval SIGINT ELINT [17] 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 [35] Spike [43] USA-269 28 July 2016
12:37 [44]
CCAFS, SLC-41 Atlas V 421 GSO [45] Quasar 20 [17] Communications Launched NROL-61 Mission Patch.png
L-65 [46] USA-245 28 August 2013
18:03
VAFB, SLC-6 Delta IV Heavy LEO KH-11 Optical imaging Launched NROL-65 Mission Patch.png
L-66 [47] USA-225 6 February 2011
12:26
VAFB, SLC-8 Minotaur I LEO RPP Technology Operational NROL-66 Mission Patch.png
L-67 [48] USA-250 10 April 2014
17:45
CCAFS, SLC-41 Atlas V 541 Launched NROL-67 Mission Patch.png
L-68 [29] - 2022 [49] CCAFS, SLC-37B Delta IV Heavy Awaiting launch
L-70 [29] - 2023 [49] CCAFS, SLC-37B Delta IV Heavy Awaiting launch
L-71 [35] USA-290 19 January 2019
19:05 [15][50]
VAFB, SLC-6 Delta IV Heavy LEO KH-11 [17] Optical imaging Launched NROL 71.png
L-76 [51] USA-276 1 May 2017
11:15 [52]
KSC, LC-39A Falcon 9 Full Thrust LEO [53][54] Launched NROL-76 Mission Patch.png
L-79 [35][55] USA-274 1 March 2017
17:50 [56]
VAFB, SLC-3E Atlas V 401 LEO Intruder 8 [17] Naval reconnaissance Launched NROL-79 Mission Patch.png Two classified satellites sharing a designation.
L-82 [29][57] - December 2020 [58] VAFB, SLC-6 Delta IV Heavy Electro-optical surveillance Awaiting launch. NROL-82 Mission Patch.png
L-85 [59] - 2021 CC, LC-39A or SLC-40 Falcon 9 Block 5 LEO 63° [60] Intruder Naval reconnaissance Awaiting launch.
L-87 [59] - 2021 [50] VAFB, SLC-4E Falcon 9 Block 5 SSO [60] Awaiting launch.
L-91 [57] - 2022 [49] VAFB, SLC-6 Delta IV Heavy Awaiting launch.
L-101 - 3 November 2020
22:58 [61]
CCAFS, SLC-41 Atlas V 531 Awaiting launch. NROL-101 Mission Patch.png
L-107 [59] - March 2022 CCAFS, SLC-41 Atlas V 551 GSO 42464 x 41864 km x 0° Silent Barker Situational Awareness. [62] Awaiting launch.
L-108 [63] - November 2020 [63] CCAFS, SLC-40 Falcon 9 LEO Intelligence-gathering spy satellite Awaiting Launch.
L-111 - March 2021 [64] MARS, LP-0B Minotaur I Technology Awaiting Launch.
L-129 [65][66] USA-305
USA-306
USA-307
USA-308
15 July 2020,
13:46 UTC
MARS, LP-0B Minotaur IV / Orion 38 Active NROL-129 Mission Patch with Female Warrior.png

NROL-129 Mission Patch with Male Warrior.png
Four payloads. First NRO launch on a Minotaur IV and first from Virginia's Space Coast.[67]
L-151 [68][69]
(RASR-1)
USA-294 [70] 31 January 2020
02:56 [71]
Mahia, LC-1A Electron LEO Technology Active NROL-151 Mission Patch.svg First Rocket Lab Electron launch, first launch from outside the United States (New Zealand), and first launch procured under NRO's Rapid Acquisition of a Small Rocket (RASR) program. Flew on Rocket Lab's "Birds of a Feather" mission.
RASR-2 [72][73] USA-301
USA-302
USA-303
13 June 2020
05:12
Mahia, LC-1A Electron Active Three technology demonstration smallsats. Primary customer of the rideshare mission procured under NRO's Rapid Acquisition of a Small Rocket (RASR) program. Flew on Rocket Lab's "Don't Stop Me Now" mission.
Undesignated[74] IMPACT-2A and IMPACT-2B 2 November 2019
13:59:47
MARS, Pad 0A Antares Technology Demonstration Active Two technology demonstration cubesats launched as part of the NRO's IMPACT program. Secondary payloads, launched with Cygnus NG-12.
TBD [75] - 1 June 2021 Mahia, LC-1A Electron Awaiting Launch. Back-to-back launch under NRO's Rapid Acquisition of a Small Rocket (RASR) program.
TBD [75] - 1 June 2021 Mahia, LC-1B Electron Awaiting Launch. Back-to-back launch under NRO's Rapid Acquisition of a Small Rocket (RASR) program.
L-174 [76] - 2021 MARS, LP-0B Minotaur IV / Orion 38 Awaiting launch.
Launch
Designation
Launch Name Satellite
Designation
Launch
Date/Time (UTC)
Launch Site Rocket Orbit Project Function Status Patch Remarks

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ a b c d e f Encyclopedia Astronautica – Atlas IIAS Astronautix.com Retrieved on September 15, 2011
  3. ^ "USA 224 recovered, USA 186 still drifting, and looking for GPS IIF-6 20 minutes after launch". Marco Langbroek. 21 May 2014. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d NRO codenames Forum.nasaspaceflight.com Retrieved on September 15, 2011
  5. ^ "National Reconnaissance Office Satellite Destroyed 29 August 1998" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 December 2016. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  6. ^ a b National Reconnaissance Satellite Successfully Launched May 22, 1999 Archived May 27, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "USA 224 recovered: an update of the KH-11 constellation". Marco Langbroek. 30 June 2016. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
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  66. ^ "NROL-129". Gunters Space Page.
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External links[edit]

  • [2] National Security Space Launch Report (pages 112)