NRO launches first proliferated system mission

The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), in partnership with U.S. Space Force Space Launch Delta 30 and Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX), successfully launched the NROL-146 mission aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex-4 East at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California at 4:00 a.m. EDT, the NRO announced May 22.

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

“Our nation’s evolving threats and challenges require constant vigilance, innovation, and agility,” said Dr. Chris Scolese, director of the NRO. “The NROL-146 mission that launched today 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 can only be obtained from the vantage point of space.”

For the past 60 years, the NRO has successfully met the needs of its U.S. intelligence, military, civil, and allied partners. It remains the world’s leader in unique intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems. The NRO’s next-generation systems will help ensure that the right data is delivered to the right user at the right time, faster than ever before.

“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,” said Dr. Troy Meink, principal deputy director of the NRO. “Our proliferated systems will increase timeliness of access, diversify communications pathways, and enhance our resilience.”

Approximately half a dozen launches supporting NRO’s proliferated architecture are planned for 2024, with additional launches expected through 2028.

Source: NRO

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