Minotaur rocket to launch NRO satellite from Wallops Wednesday morning

July 14, 2020
 |
NASA Wallops

The weather looks good for the launch of a  Minotaur IV rocket carrying a classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO)  scheduled for launch July 15, 2020, from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The U.S. Space Force (USSF) Space and Missile Systems Center’s Launch Enterprise Program is providing the launch services for this mission. The launch window opens at 9:00 a.m. but due to the classified nature of the launch the exact launch time has not been released.

The launch vehicle, built and operated by Northrop Grumman, is scheduled for liftoff from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s (MARS) Pad 0B on Wallops Island.

The launch may be visible along the U.S. east coast. In addition, the mission will be streamed live beginning at 8:30 a.m. on the Wallops YouTube channel.

The NASA Visitor Center at Wallops will not be open for this mission.

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Mission information, including photos, will be available following the launch on the NRO, NASA Wallops, and Northrop Grumman websites, and their respective Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts.

This mission, named NROL-129, will be the first USSF mission from Wallops Flight Facility and the NRO’s first dedicated launch from Wallops.

The NRO is the Intelligence Community element and a Department of Defense agency responsible for developing, acquiring, launching, and operating America’s intelligence satellites to meet the national security needs of the nation.

The 78-foot tall Minotaur IV launch vehicle consists of three solid-fueled motors from decommissioned Peacekeeper ICBMs and a commercial solid rocket upper stage.

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NROL-129 is the first Minotaur mission from Wallops since 2013 and the second orbital launch from the MARS launch pads in 2020. Minotaur rockets have been launched from Wallops for nearly 14 years.

 

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