The launch of the new classified reconnaissance satellite has been much anticipated - as it has been delayed several times.
NROL-47 marks United Launch Alliance's 27th launch for the federal National Reconnaissance Office, and the 36th flight for a Delta IV rocket since the first in 2002, according to the company's website.
The secretive mission will be ULA's 27th for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) - the agency in charge of the United States fleet of spy satellites.
If you see a rocket in the sky tonight, don't panic it's supposed to be there. A single RL10B-2 liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen engine powered the second stage. As usual with classified launchings, no details were provided about the satellite payload or its intended orbit.
The launch will be the agency's first in 2018 at the air base northwest of Santa Barbara.
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Thursday morning's weather report from the 30th Space Wing showed an 80 percent chance of favorable conditions, a considerable improvement over the previous day's 40 percent. ULA constructed the Delta IV Medium+ (5,2) launch vehicle in Decatur, Ala.
The blastoff and initial phases of the rocket's flight were a success.
The third time was the charm for United Launch Alliance and its twice-delayed NROL-47 mission.
"We are proud to provide this national defence capability and every Team V member involved has tirelessly worked to ensure the launch is safe and successful". At present, that mission is scheduled to get underway on Thursday, Jan. 18 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex 41 located in Floridae launch is scheduled for Jan. 18 from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. Jim began blogging about science, science fiction and futurism in 2004.