Launch Photos: NROL-55 Spy Satellite and Cubesats Blast Off

Atlas V Launches NROL-55

United Launch Alliance

On Oct. 8, 2015, a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket soared into space from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base at 5:49 a.m. PDT (8:49 a.m. EDT) to deliver the classified NROL-55 satellite into orbit. The mission, ULA's 101st rocket launch, also delivered 13 tiny cubesats into orbit for the NRO and NASA. See photos from the mission, including this one, in our full gallery here. Read our full launch wrap story.

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NASA

Watch a replay of the Atlas V rocket launching the NROL-55 satellite.

NROL-55 Mission Poster

United Launch Alliance

The mission poster for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office's NROL-55 spy satellite launch aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. Read our full launch wrap story.

Liftoff for NROL-55

NASA TV

The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying the NROL-55 spy satellite and 13 cubesats ignites its engines for a smooth Oct. 8 launch into space from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base. Read our full launch wrap story.

Alaska Research Cubesat

University of Alaska Fairbanks

The Alaska Research Center Cubesat is one of four NASA-sponsored cubesats that launched aboard the NROL-55 Atlas V rocket on Oct. 8, 2015. Called ARC for short, it was built by students at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks to test technology for future systems and to measure the launch environment. Here: Denise Thorsen and Jesse Frey performing DILT on the Alaska Research Center CubeSat. Read our full launch wrap story.

BisonSat

Salish Kootenai Colleg

Here, Salish Kootenai College student Zachary DuMontier tests solar panels on BisonSat, one of four NASA-sponsored cubesats launched into orbit on the NROL-55 Atlas V rocket mission on Oct. 8, 2015. BisonSat is an Earth science cubesat that will demonstrate the acquisition of 100-meter or better resolution visible light imagery of Earth using passive magnetic stabilization. Read our full launch wrap story.

Fox-1 Cubesat

AMSAT

The Fox-1 cubesat satellite shown here is one of four NASA-sponsored payloads launched with the NROL-55 mission. Fox-1 is designed to host a two-way FM communications transponder and experiment payloads. Read our full launch wrap story.

ULA Atlas V Rocket for Oct. 8, 2015 launch

United Launch Alliance

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket stands poised to launch a classified U.S. spy satellite, NROL-55, into orbit for the National Reconnaissance Office. The rocket will also launch 13 tiny cubesats when it lifts off from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base on Oct. 8, 2015. Read our full launch wrap story.

NROL-55 Payload Mated to Atlas V Rocket

United Launch Alliance

The NROL-55 payload, inside a 4-meter diameter payload fairing, undergoes mating to an Atlas V rocket booster inside the Mobile Service Tower (MST) at Vandenberg's Space Launch Complex-3 in California. Read our full launch wrap story.

NROL-55 Payload Arrives at Mobile Service Tower

United Launch Alliance

The NROL-55 payload, inside a 4-meter diameter payload fairing, undergoes mating to an Atlas V rocket booster inside the Mobile Service Tower (MST) at Vandenberg's Space Launch Complex-3 in California. Read our full launch wrap story.

NROL-55 Payload Transported

United Launch Alliance

The NROL-55 payload, inside a 4-meter diameter payload fairing, undergoes mating to an Atlas V rocket booster inside the Mobile Service Tower (MST) at Vandenberg's Space Launch Complex-3 in California. Read our full launch wrap story.

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