Science

Orbital ATK Technologies Support Today's ULA Delta IV Launch

Orbital ATK Technologies Support Today's ULA Delta IV Launch

The rocket was supposed to launch on Wednesday but high winds and then equipment problems caused several delays.

Due to the payload's classified nature, officials have remained mum about its objective, cost and status.

Because the mission involved the deployment of a spy satellite for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office, ULA ended its coverage of the flight early.

The NRO mission patch sports Latin words that translated into "Evil will never prevail", a ULA representative said. A single RL10B-2 liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen engine powered the second stage.

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Little is known about the payload other than the fact that ULA is launching it for the NRO.

Today's launch was the first of 2018 for Colorado-based United Launch Alliance. Orbital ATK's contributions to the Delta IV include cutting-edge technologies from across the company, including two Graphite Epoxy Motors (GEM 60), large composite structures and the propellant tank and nozzle for the main engine.

The Delta IV rocket was built in Decatur, Alabama. It was also the 36 flight of the Delta IV rocket since its inaugural launch in 2002.

"The successful launch of a payload in support of our national security and that of allied forces demands the best propulsion systems available", said Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and President Eileen Drake in a statement issued by the company. According to the organization's website, "together with other Defense Department satellites, the NRO systems play a crucial role in providing global communications, precision navigation, early warning of missile launches and potential military aggression, signals intelligence, and near real-time imagery to USA forces to support the war on terrorism and other continuing operations".


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