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Atlas launches NRO satellite
Posted: Sat, Dec 13, 2014, 11:01 AM ET (1601 GMT)
Atlas 5 launch of NROL-35 (ULA) An Atlas 5 rocket successfully launched a classified satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) Friday evening. The Atlas 5 541 lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 7:19 pm PST Friday (10:19 pm EST Friday, 0319 GMT Saturday) on a mission designated NROL-35. Coverage of the mission was blacked out shortly after liftoff, but United Launch Alliance and the NRO declared the mission a success a couple hours later. NRO did not disclose the spacecraft's mission, although observers speculate it may be a signals intelligence satellite. The launch was the most powerful variant of the Atlas to launch from Vandenberg, and the first to use a new version of the RL10 upper stage engine that will eventually be used by both the Atlas and Delta vehicles.
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