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Mission type Communication
Operator US NRO
COSPAR ID 2011-011A
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft type SDS-3
Start of mission
Launch date 11 March 2011, 23:38 (2011-03-11UTC23:38Z) UTC
Rocket Delta IV-M+(4,2) D353
Launch site Cape Canaveral SLC-37B
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Regime Geosynchronous

USA-227, known before launch as NRO Launch 27 (NROL-27), is an American communications satellite which was launched in 2011. It is operated by the United States National Reconnaissance Office.

Whilst details of its mission are officially classified, amateur observers have identified USA-227 as being a third-generation Satellite Data System satellite in geosynchronous orbit.[1] The first amateur observation of the satellite was made on 6 April 2011,[2][3] when the spacecraft was located at a longitude of 30.4 degrees west.[3] SDS satellites are used to relay data from American reconnaissance satellites to ground stations.

United Launch Alliance performed the launch of USA-227, using a Delta IV-M+(4,2) carrier rocket flying from Space Launch Complex 37B at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The launch occurred at 23:38 UTC on 11 March 2011.[4] Following liftoff the rocket flew east, placing the satellite into a geosynchronous transfer orbit. By 23:43 UTC, official updates on the status of the launch had been discontinued.[5]


  1. ^ Ray, Justin (11 April 2011). "Information-routing satellite was deployed by Delta 4". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 24 April 2011. 
  2. ^ Wakelin, Peter (7 April 2011). "SATOBS 2011 April 06-07". SeeSat-L. Retrieved 24 April 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Ted, Molczan (9 April 2011). "NROL-27 / USA 227 elements". SeeSat-L. Retrieved 24 April 2011. 
  4. ^ McDowell, Jonathan. "Launch Log". Jonathan's Space Page. Retrieved 24 April 2011. 
  5. ^ Ray, Justin. "Mission Status Center". Delta Mission Report. Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 24 April 2011.