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Launch Photos: Secret US Spy Satellite NROL-38 Blasts Off

Spy Satellite NROL-38 Launches: June 20, 2012

Pat Corkery, United Launch Alliance

A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket launches the classified NROL-38 spy satellite into orbit from Space Launch Complex-41 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on June 20, 2012. Liftoff occurred at 8:28 a.m. EDT. The national security satellite will be used by the National Reconnaissance Office.

Spy Satellite NROL-38 Launches: June 20, 2012

Pat Corkery, United Launch Alliance

A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket launches the classified NROL-38 spy satellite into orbit from Space Launch Complex-41 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on June 20, 2012. Liftoff occurred at 8:28 a.m. EDT. The national security satellite will be used by the National Reconnaissance Office.

Spy Satellite NROL-38 Launches: June 20, 2012

Pat Corkery, United Launch Alliance

A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket launches the classified NROL-38 spy satellite into orbit from Space Launch Complex-41 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on June 20, 2012. Liftoff occurred at 8:28 a.m. EDT.

Atlas 5 Rocket Ready to Launch NROL-38 Mission

United Launch Alliance

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V launch vehicle stands ready to launch the NROL-38 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office. Launch date: June 20, 2012.

Atlas 5 Rocket with NROL-38 Mission

United Launch Alliance

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V launch vehicle stands ready to launch the NROL-38 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office. Launch date: June 20, 2012.

Atlas 5 Rocket with NROL-38 Mission Through Doors

United Launch Alliance

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V launch vehicle, carrying the NROL-38 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office, is rolled to the launch pad at Space Launch Complex-41. Launch date: June 20, 2012.

NROL-38 Mission Rolls to Pad

United Launch Alliance

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V launch vehicle, carrying the NROL-38 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office, is rolled to the launch pad at Space Launch Complex-41. Launch date: June 20, 2012.

NROL Mission Closeup of Logos

United Launch Alliance

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V launch vehicle, carrying the NROL-38 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office, is rolled to the launch pad at Space Launch Complex-41. Launch took place on June 20, 2012.

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Space.com Staff
Space.com Staff

Space.com is the premier source of space exploration, innovation and astronomy news, chronicling (and celebrating) humanity's ongoing expansion across the final frontier. Originally founded in 1999, Space.com is, and always has been, the passion of writers and editors who are space fans and also trained journalists. Our current news team consists of Editor-in-Chief Tariq Malik; Editor Hanneke Weitering, Senior Space Writer Mike Wall; Senior Writer Meghan Bartels; Senior Writer Chelsea Gohd, Senior Writer Tereza Pultarova and Staff Writer Alexander Cox, focusing on e-commerce. Senior Producer Steve Spaleta oversees our space videos, with Diana Whitcroft as our Social Media Editor.