NRO Launches First Satellite of 2022 Onboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9
The National Reconnaissance Office on Wednesday successfully launched into orbit its first satellite for the year 2022. The launch marks the first time the agency has used a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket service procured under the National Security Space Launch program, C4ISRNET reported Thursday.
The rocket took off from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. Designated simply as the NROL-87, the satellite is intended to enhance the agency’s overall mission of providing critical information to more than a half-million government users, including every member of the Intelligence Community, two dozen domestic agencies, the military, members of Congress and other U.S. government decision-makers, an NRO spokesperson said.
It was explained NROL-87 is the NRO’s third launch from a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket but the first Falcon 9 procured from the NSSL contract. The NSSL, a government launch acquisition program aimed at ensuring continued access to space for national security missions, is overseen and operated through U.S. Space Force’s Space Systems Command, the spokesperson further said.
For his part, Col. Robert Bongiovi, director of the Space Systems Command’s launch enterprise, said in a statement that the satellite’s launch onboard the Falcon 9 rocket demonstrates team members’ “relentless pursuit of innovation,” which has driven them to partner with industry to assure access to space and meet mission objectives at less expense.
Meanwhile, the NRO revealed plans to conduct more than six additional launches in 2022 in an effort to send more than a dozen payloads into orbit. In carrying out the series of space missions, the agency said it would reuse the Falcon 9’s booster.
Tags: C4ISRNET Chris Scolese National Reconnaissance Office satellite space Space Force