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NRO Launches NROL-146 Mission Aboard Falcon 9

NRO mission aboard Falcon 9. Credit: SpaceX

Ibadan, 23 May 2024. – The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), in partnership with U.S. Space Force Space Launch Delta 30 and SpaceX has launched the NROL-146 mission aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex-4 East at Vandenberg Space Force Base.

This mission is the first launch of the NRO’s proliferated systems featuring responsive collection and rapid data delivery. Furthermore, NROL-146 represents the first launch of an operational system following demonstrations in recent years to verify cost and performance.

For the past 60 years, the NRO has met the needs of its U.S. intelligence, military, civil, and allied partners. It remains a global provider of unique intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems. The NRO’s next-generation systems will consequently ensure delivery of the right data to the right user at the right time. In addition, NRO is planning approximately half a dozen launches supporting its proliferated architecture for 2024, with additional launches expected through 2028.

Speaking about the launched mission, Dr. Chris Scolese, director of the NRO, said, “Our nation’s evolving threats and challenges require constant vigilance, innovation, and agility. The NROL-146 mission reflects the NRO’s commitment to developing innovative, faster, and more resilient technologies and providing greater capabilities to our IC, DoD, and allied partners. These systems provide key information that is obtainable only from the vantage point of space.”

Similarly, Dr. Troy Meink, principal deputy director of the NRO, added, “Over the next decade, we will continue to increase the number of satellites operating across multiple orbits — complementing the NRO’s cutting-edge, highly-capable satellites that are the traditional hallmark of the NRO — by adding responsive, proliferated systems.” Dr. Meink also added, “Our proliferated systems will increase timeliness of access, diversify communications pathways, and enhance our resilience.”

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