The National Reconnaissance Office logo.

This is a list of NRO Launch (NROL) designations, i.e. satellites operated by the United States National Reconnaissance Office. Those missions are generally classified, so that their exact purposes and orbital elements are not published. However, amateur astronomers have managed to observe most of the satellites, and leaked information has led to the identification of many of the payloads.

Launch statistics

Launch vehicle families

  •   Titan
  •   Atlas
  •   Taurus/Minotaur
  •   Delta
  •   Falcon
  •   Electron

Launch sites

  •   Vandenberg (CA)
  •   Cape Canaveral (FL)
  •   Kennedy (FL)
  •   Wallops Island (VA)
  •   Mahia (New Zealand)

Launch history

Launch
designation
Nickname Satellite
designation
Date/Time (UTC) Launch site Rocket Orbit Project Function Status Patch Remarks
L-1 Nemesis [1] USA-179 [1] August 31, 2004
23:17 [2]
CCAFS, SLC-36A [2] Atlas IIAS [2] Molniya Quasar [1] Communications [2] Active NROL-1 Mission Patch.png
L-2 USA-129 December 20, 1996
18:04
VAFB, SLC-4E Titan IV LEO KH-11 Optical imaging Reentered April 24, 2014 [3]
L-3 USA-133 October 24, 1997
02:32
VAFB, SLC-4E Titan IV LEO Lacrosse ELINT Active
L-4 Oscar USA-136 November 8, 1997
02:05
CCAFS, SLC-41 Titan IV Molniya Trumpet ELINT Active NROL-4 Mission Patch.png
L-5 Capricorn [1] USA-137 [1] January 29, 1998
18:37
CCAFS, SLC-36A Atlas IIA Molniya Quasar [1] Communications Active NROL-5 Mission Patch.png
L-6 Jack USA-139 [4] May 9, 1998
01:38
CCAFS, SLC-40 Titan IV/Centaur GSO Orion ELINT NROL-6 Dragon Mission Patch.png
L-7 Elwood N/A August 12, 1998
11:30
CCAFS, SLC-41 Titan IV/Centaur GSO (planned) Mercury ELINT Destroyed "Cheers! Saving the Best for Last!!" Rocket self-destructed 40 seconds into launch due to guidance problem.[5]
L-8 USA-140, USA-141 October 3, 1998
10:04
VAFB, LC-576E Taurus 1110 LEO STEX Technology NROL-8 Mission Patch.png ATEX experiment jettisoned on 1999-01-16 and catalogued as USA-141.
L-9 USA-144 [1] May 22, 1999
09:36 [6]
VAFB, SLC-4E [6] Titan IVB [6] Misty [1] Optical imaging[1] NROL-9 Mission Patch.png First Titan IV-B launch from VAFB.
L-10 Ursa Major [1]·
(Great Bear)
USA-155 [1] December 6, 2000
02:47 [2]
CCAFS, SLC-36A [2] Atlas IIAS [2] GSO [2] Quasar [1] Communications [2] Active NROL-10 Mission Patch.png
L-11 Onyx / Vega USA-152 August 17, 2000
23:45
VAFB, SLC-4E Titan IVB LEO Lacrosse Radar imaging Active NROL-11 Mission Patch.png Lacrosse4 L2 patch sml.jpg
L-12 Aquila [1] USA-162 [1] October 11, 2001
02:32 [2]
CCAFS, SLC-36B [2] Atlas IIAS [2] GSO [2] Quasar [1] Communications Active NROL-12 Mission Patch.png
L-13 Gemini [1] USA-160 [1] September 8, 2001
15:25
VAFB, SLC-3E [2] Atlas IIAS [2] LEO [2] Intruder [1] Naval reconnaissance [2] Active NROL-13 Mission Patch.png Two satellites.[2]
L-14 USA-161 October 5, 2001
21:21
VAFB, SLC-4E Titan IVB LEO KH-11 Optical reconnaissance Reentered late 2014. [7] NROL-14 Mission Patch.png
L-15 USA-237 June 29, 2012
13:15 [8]
CCAFS, SLC-37B Delta IV Heavy
(first RS-68A upgrade)
GSO Mentor * ELINT Active NROL-15 Mission Patch.png * or follow-on.
L-16 Prometheus USA-182 [4] April 30, 2005
00:50 [9]
CCAFS, SLC-40 Titan IVB LEO Lacrosse Radar imaging Active Lacrosse5 M patch.jpg
L-17 GeoLITE [1] USA-158 [1] May 18, 2001
17:45 [10]
CCAFS, SLC-17B [10] Delta II 7925-9.5 [10] GSO [10] GeoLITE [1] Technology demonstration[10] Active NROL-17 Mission Patch.png
L-18 Libra [1] USA-173 [1] December 2, 2003
10:04 [2]
VAFB, SLC-3E [2] Atlas IIAS [2] LEO [2] Intruder [1] Naval reconnaissance [2] Active NROL-18 Mission Patch.png Two satellites.[2]
L-19 Homer [11] USA-171 [4] September 9, 2003
04:29 [12]
CCAFS, SLC-40 Titan IVB-Centaur GSO Orion ELINT Active NROL19 USA171 patch.jpg
L-20 USA-186 [4] October 19, 2005
18:05 [13]
VAFB, SLC-4E Titan IVB LEO KH-11 Optical imaging Active NROL-20 Mission Patch.png Last launch of a Titan rocket.
L-21 USA-193 [1] December 14, 2006
21:00 [10]
VAFB, SLC-2W [10] Delta II 7920-10 [10] LEO [10] Unknown Unknown Failed; intentionally destroyed in 2008. NROL-21 Mission Patch.png Failed immediately after launch. Destroyed by ASAT on 21 February 2008.
L-22 USA-184 [1] June 28, 2006
03:33
VAFB, SLC-6 Delta IV M+(4,2) Molniya Improved Trumpet [1] ELINT Active NROL-22 Mission Patch.png
L-23 Canis Minor [1] USA-181 [1] February 3, 2005
07:41
CCAFS, SLC-36B Atlas IIIB LEO Intruder [1] Naval reconnaissance Active NROL23 NOSS3 3patch.jpg Two satellites.
L-24 Scorpius [1] USA-198 [1] December 10, 2007
22:05
CCAFS, SLC-41 Atlas V 401 Molniya Quasar [1] Communications Active NROL24 USA198 patch.jpg
L-25 Altair USA-234 April 3, 2012
23:12 [14]·[15]
VAFB, SLC-6 Delta IV M+(5,2) Retrograde LEO [16] Topaz Radar imaging Active NROL-25 Mission Patch.png
L-26 USA-202 January 18, 2009
02:47
CCAFS, SLC-37B Delta IV Heavy GSO Orion ELINT Active NROL-26 Mission Patch.png
L-27 Gryphon [11] USA-227 March 11, 2011
23:38
CCAFS, SLC-37B Delta IV M+(4,2) GSO Quasar Communications Active NROL-27 Mission Patch.png
L-28 USA-200 March 13, 2008
10:02
VAFB, SLC-3E Atlas V 411 Molniya Improved Trumpet [17] ELINT Active NROL28 USA200 patch.jpg
L-29 N/A VAFB, SLC-3E Atlas V 521 [18] Cancelled
L-30 Pyxis [1] USA-194 [1] June 15, 2007
15:12
CCAFS, SLC-41 Atlas V 401 [1] LEO Intruder [1] Naval reconnaissance Active NROL-30 Mission Patch.png Two satellites.
Premature 2nd stage cutoff during launch. Lifetime reduced by need to correct orbit.
L-32 [19] USA-223 November 21, 2010
22:58 [20]
CCAFS, SLC-37B Delta IV Heavy GSO Orion [21] ELINT Operational NROL-32 Patch.png
L-33[22] USA-252 May 22, 2014
13:09
CCAFS, SLC-41 Atlas V 401 GSO Quasar Communications Active NROL-33 mission patch.png
L-34 Odin[23] USA-229 April 15, 2011
04:24
VAFB, SLC-3E[20] Atlas V 411[20] LEO Intruder Naval SIGINT Operational[24] NROL-34 Mission Patch.png Two satellites
L-35 Jacquelyn USA-259 December 13, 2014
03:19
VAFB, SLC-3E Atlas V 541 Molniya Trumpet (third generation)[17] ELINT Active NROL-35 Mission Patch.png First flight of the RL10C-1 rocket engine, used by the Centaur upper stage
L-36[25] USA-238[26] September 13, 2012
21:39[15]
VAFB, SLC-3E Atlas V 401[27] LEO Intruder SIGINT Launched

NROL-36 Mission Patch.png

Two satellites sharing a designation
L-37[28] USA-268 June 11, 2016
17:51
CCAFS, SLC-37B Delta IV Heavy GSO Orion SIGINT[29] Launched NROL-37 Mission Patch.png Likely the seventh so called Mentor/Orion satellite for the National Security Agency.[17]
L-38[30] Drake[31] USA-236 June 20, 2012
12:28[15]
CCAFS, SLC-41 Atlas V 401 GSO Quasar Communications Active NROL-38 Mission Patch.png
L-39[32] USA-247 December 6, 2013
07:14[33]
VAFB, SLC-3E Atlas V 501 LEO Topaz Radar imaging Active NROL 39 vector logo.svg
L-41[19] Gladys[11] USA-215[1] September 21, 2010
04:03[20]
VAFB, SLC-3E Atlas V 501 LEO (retrograde)[34] 1058 × 1072 km [35] Topaz Radar imaging Operational NROL-41 Mission Patch.png
L-42[36] USA-278 September 24, 2017 05:49:47 VAFB, SLC-3E Atlas V 541 Molniya Trumpet (third generation)[17] ELINT Launched[37] NROL-42 Mission Patch.png
L-44[36] - June 2020[38] CCAFS, SLC-37B Delta IV Heavy GSO Orion[17] SIGINT[29] Awaiting launch
L-45[32] USA-267 February 10, 2016 11:40 VAFB, SLC-6 Delta IV M+(5,2) LEO (retrograde)[39] 1084 x 1086 km x 123°[40] Topaz Radar imaging Launched NROL-45 Mission Patch Alternate Version.png NROL-45 Logo.png
L-47 USA-281 January 12, 2018 22:11 VAFB, SLC-6 Delta IV M+(5,2) LEO (retrograde) Topaz[17] Radar imaging Launched NROL-47Patch.png
L-49[19] Betty[11] USA-224 January 20, 2011
21:10[41]
VAFB, SLC-6 Delta IV Heavy LEO 239 x 1005 km[42] KH-11[41] Optical imaging Operational NROL-49 Mission Patch.png
L-52[36] USA-279 October 15, 2017 07:28 CCAFS, SLC-41 Atlas V 421 GSO Quasar 21[17] Communications Launched NROL-52 Mission Patch.png
L-55[36] USA-264 October 8, 2015
12:49
VAFB, SLC-3E Atlas V 401 LEO 1000 x 1200 km x 63.4°[43] Intruder Naval SIGINT ELINT[17] Launched Mission "patch" of NROL-55: a weapon smith (Hephaestus) is forging a sword. "SUSTENTANTES BELLATORES DE CÆLIS" means something like "In sustained support for the warriors, from the sky/or heaven" Two classified satellites (NROL-55) and 13 cubesats.
L-61[36] Spike[44] USA-269 July 28, 2016

12:37[45]

CCAFS, SLC-41 Atlas V 421 GSO[46] Quasar 20[46]·[17] Communications Launched NROL-61 Mission Patch.png
L-65[47] USA-245 August 28, 2013
18:03
VAFB, SLC-6 Delta IV Heavy LEO KH-11 Optical imaging Launched NROL-65 Mission Patch.png
L-66[48] USA-225 February 6, 2011
12:26
VAFB, SLC-8 Minotaur I LEO RPP Technology Operational NROL-66 Mission Patch.png
L-67 [49] USA-250 April 10, 2014
17:45
CCAFS, SLC-41 Atlas V 541 Launched NROL-67 Mission Patch.png
L-68[29] - 2023[50] CCAFS, SLC-37B Delta IV Heavy Awaiting launch
L-70[29] - 2024[50] CCAFS, SLC-37B Delta IV Heavy Awaiting launch
L-71[36] USA-290 January 19, 2019
19:05[15]·[51]
VAFB, SLC-6 Delta IV Heavy LEO KH-11[17] Optical imaging Launched NROL 71.png
L-76[52] USA-276 May 1, 2017
11:15[53]
KSC, LC-39A Falcon 9 Full Thrust LEO[54]·[55] Launched NROL-76 Mission Patch.png
L-79[36]·[56] USA-274 March 1, 2017
17:50[57]
VAFB, SLC-3E Atlas V 401 LEO Intruder 8[17] Naval reconnaissance Launched NROL-79 Mission Patch.png Two classified satellites sharing a designation
L-82[29]·[58] - Q4 2020[59] VAFB, SLC-6 Delta IV Heavy Electro-optical surveillance Awaiting launch
L-85[60] - December 2021 CC, 39A or 40 Falcon 9 Block 5 LEO 63° [61] Intruder Naval reconnaissance Awaiting launch
L-87[60] - December 2021[51] VAFB, SLC-4E Falcon 9 Block 5 SSO [61] Awaiting launch
L-91[58] - H2 2022[62] VAFB, SLC-6 Delta IV Heavy Awaiting launch
L-101[36] - September 2020[59] CCAFS, SLC-41 Atlas V 531 Awaiting launch
L-107 [60] - March 2022 CCAFS, SLC-41 Atlas V 551 GSO 42464 x 41864 km x 0° Silent Barker Situational Awareness [63] Awaiting launch
L-111 [64]·[65] - Q4 2020 [59] MARS, LP-0B Minotaur I Technology Awaiting Launch
L-129 [66][67] - Spring 2020 [59] MARS, LP-0B Minotaur IV / Orion 38 Awaiting Launch
L-151 [68]·[69] USA-294 [70] 31 January 2020
02:56 [71]
Mahia, LC-1 Electron LEO Technology Launched NROL-151 Mission Patch.svg First Rocket Lab Electron launch. First launch from outside the United States (New Zealand).
TBA [72] - Q2 2020 Mahia, LC-1 Electron Awaiting Launch Three NRO payloads
Launch
Designation
Launch Name Satellite
Designation
Launch
Date/Time (UTC)
Launch Site Rocket Orbit Project Function Status Patch Remarks

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al Steven Pietrobon's Space Archive – US Military Launch Record. None. Retrieved on September 15, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x Encyclopedia Astronautica – Atlas IIAS. Astronautix.com. Retrieved on September 15, 2011.
  3. ^ "USA 224 recovered, USA 186 still drifting, and looking for GPS IIF-6 20 minutes after launch". Marco Langbroek. May 21, 2014. Retrieved May 13, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d NRO codenames. Forum.nasaspaceflight.com. Retrieved on September 15, 2011.
  5. ^ "National Reconnaissance Office Satellite Destroyed August 19, 1998" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on December 21, 2016. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
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  8. ^ Space Videos (June 29, 2012). "[Delta] Launch of Delta IV Heavy with NROL-15 Payload" – via YouTube.
  9. ^ NRO Successfully Launches Last Titan from Cape Canaveral April 29, 2005 Archived May 27, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i Encyclopedia Astronautica – Delta 7000 Archived March 7, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ a b c d "Re: NROL codenames". nasaspaceflight.com. January 22, 2011.
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  13. ^ NRO Payload Takes Last Ride Aboard Titan IV October 20, 2005 Archived August 26, 2006, at Archive.today
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  16. ^ "Spaceflight Now - Delta Launch Report – Launch warnings show Delta 4 headed for backwards orbit".
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  24. ^ [1][dead link]
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  31. ^ http://www.spaceflightnow.com/atlas/av023/images/NROL38logo.jpg
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  37. ^ NROL-42 launch time:0549 GMT
  38. ^ ""2/2 After Thursday's Delta 4-Medium swan song, ULA plans two Delta 4-Heavy missions next year, both for the NRO. First up is NROL-44 from Cape Canaveral in June 2020, followed by NROL-82 from Vandenberg AFB in September 2020."".
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  69. ^ "NROL-151". Rocket Lab USA.
  70. ^ https://space.skyrocket.de/index.html - 1 February 2020
  71. ^ Lab, Rocket (January 30, 2020). "And we have resumed the count! New target lift-off time is 02:56 UTC (15:56 NZDT / 18:56 PST / 21:56 EST). Still a possibility of standing down due to high ground winds". @RocketLab. Retrieved January 31, 2020.
  72. ^ "Rocket Lab's Next Mission to Launch Satellites for NASA, NRO and the University of New South Wales". Rocket Lab USA.

External links

  • [2] National Security Space Launch Report (pages 112)