One week after the first signs of the mission were published, the National Recovery Office (NRO) has confirmed that SpaceX’s October launch will carry a new spy satellite.
Known as NRL-17, the mission is of concern for a variety of reasons, including the launch trajectory attached to it, the possibility of launching the rocket, and the privacy surrounding it. While both the NRO satellite launch and what the agency usually does are highly confidential, the U.S. government will remain secretive for any kind of launch, just a month before the lift.
For SpaceX, the mysterious Zuma mission, the only U.S. mission in recent memory to reach the top of the privacy level, has been credited with NRL-17 108, largely undeclared. And Before, during and after the introduction no government agency is unclaimed. However, a separate launch completed almost half a year ago on Friday helps shed light on SpaceX’s latest surprise deal.
The only mission reminiscent of NROL-108 is actually SpaceX’s NRO – NRL-76. Its first launch. Introduced in May 2017, pay-load – somehow believed to be involved in low earth orbit (LEO) testing of proximity operations – is classified and still remains a complete mystery. The highlight of the mission is that the spacecraft repeatedly passed near the International Space Station (ISS) – an incredibly unusual infographic as NASA and Russia maintain close control over what can and cannot do near the crew outpost.
Like the NRL-76 Like, the NRL-7 will travel on a Falcon 9 rocket, and the mission booster will be allowed to try a return-to-launch-site (RTLS) back to land. For the Falcon 9, an RTLS booster landing basically refers to the launch padweight, the title in LEO, or some combination of the two. Although NRL-76 that was similar in that case, NRO has revealed NRL-76 and confirmed that SpaceX will launch the entire mission 10 months before launch.
For the NRL-108, the NRO has just confirmed its SpaceX launch plan Later FCC documents revealed a kind of mystery mission scheduled for October 2020. Even for the NRO, the launch is quite unusual, less than a month before the lift off.
Unusual also: Except for SpaceX somehow slipping the entire building-sized Falcon 9 booster from Los Angeles to Cape Canaveral, the NRL-108 will probably mark the launch of the spy agency on a commercial flight-proof rocket. SpaceX technically has at least three new Falcon 9 boosters at various stages of preparation for NASA and the U.S. military in October TBD (GPS III SV04) and November (Crew-1, Sentinel 6A), but all three have spoken strongly.
According to the NRO’s official confirmation with SpaceflightNow, the launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket NRL-108 is not scheduled to take place before October 25 (Net). The company faces a comprehensive Q4 2020 manifest in mid-November, including GPS III SV04 (October TBD), Sirius XM’s new radio satellite (early November), Sentinel 6A sea satellite (net November 10), Crew Dragon’s first operational astronaut launch (net). ), The first launch of the Cargo Dragon 2 (November 22nd), a Turkish communications satellite (November 30th) and several more Starlink missions.
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