SpaceX is ready to launch a United States surveillance satellites for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). The classified payload is code-named 'NROL-85.' The mission was previously scheduled for April 15, SpaceX announced it delayed the mission by a day to allow "teams to complete pre-launch checkouts and data reviews." Then the mission was delayed again -"Due to excessive upper level winds forecasted for Saturday, we are now targeting no earlier than Sunday, April 17." A previously-flown Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to lift off at 6:13 a.m. PT on Sunday from Space Launch Complex 4 East (SLC-4E) at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.
The Falcon 9 first-stage booster that will launch the NROL-85 mission is identified as B1071-2. It previously launched the NROL-87 mission in February. Soon after deploying the payload to orbit, SpaceX aims to recover the booster a third time to reuse on a future mission by landing it on Landing Zone 4. SpaceX will Livestream the mission around 15-minutes before liftoff in the YouTube video link below.
NRO operates surveillance satellites designed to provide intelligence data to the United States Department of Defense (DoD), senior policy makers, as well as other members of the intelligence community. The NRO does not release public details about the mysterious payloads it deploys. Dutch archaeologist and satellite expert Marco Langbroek believes the NROL-85 mission is carrying the next pair for Naval Ocean Surveillance System (NOSS) satellites code-name INTRUDER. NOSS satellites are operated by the U.S. Navy. Read more at Langbroek's blog, linked below.
New Blogpost posted yesterday:— Dr Marco Langbroek 🇺🇦 💉💉💉 #recovering (@Marco_Langbroek) April 13, 2022
"NROL-85: probably NOSS 3-9, a new pair of INTRUDER Naval SIGINT satellites "https://t.co/LhWf86X9Sz
All the NRO officially shared is the NROL-85 mission patch which is a cute graphic of a cat looking at its reflection in a puddle of water and sees itself as a tiger, pictured below. The mission's slogan is - 'Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.' "Each launch patch tells a story. For NROL-85, 3 stars represent guidance, protection & allegiance. The tiger in the cat’s reflection demonstrates that while space can be challenging, a determined attitude helps NRO go Above and Beyond to protect our nation," said NRO representatives via Twitter.
Each launch patch tells a story. For #NROL85, 3 stars represent guidance, protection & allegiance. The tiger in the cat’s reflection demonstrates that while space can be challenging, a determined attitude helps NRO go #AboveandBeyond to protect our nation. #attitudeiseverything pic.twitter.com/lfS8XULZa7— NRO (@NatReconOfc) April 3, 2022
WATCH IT LIVE!
Featured Image Source: SpaceX
About the Author
Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.