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Launch Photos: Secret NROL-37 Spy Satellite Rides Delta IV Heavy Rocket Into Orbit

Liftoff for Spy Satellite NROL-37

United Launch Alliance

The National Reconnaissance's NROL-37 mission, launched atop a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket on June 11, 2016, is the latest NRO mission dedicated to national security. See photos from the amazing launch here. Launch Video | Read our full story.

Clearing the Tower

United Launch Alliance

A United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket launches into space carrying the classified NROL-37 satellite from Cape Canaveral Air Force Base in Florida on June 11, 2016. The launch is a mission for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office. Launch Video | Read our full story.

Ascent

United Launch Alliance

A United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket launches into space carrying the classified NROL-37 satellite from Cape Canaveral Air Force Base in Florida on June 11, 2016. The launch is a mission for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office. Launch Video | Read our full story.

Preparing for Launch

United Launch Alliance

A United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket is prepared to launch the classified spy satellite NROL-37 at Space Complex 37 of Cape Canaveral Air Force Base in Florida. Here, the Mobile Service Tower is rolling back on June 9, 2016. Liftoff occurred on June 11. Launch Video | Read our full story.

The World's Biggest Rocket

United Launch Alliance

A United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket is prepared to launch the classified spy satellite NROL-37 at Space Complex 37 of Cape Canaveral Air Force Base in Florida. Here, the Mobile Service Tower is rolling back on June 9, 2016. Liftoff occurred on June 11. Launch Video | Read our full story.

Close-up of NROL-37 and Delta IV Heavy

ULA

Close-up view of the NROL-37 spy satellite and Delta IV Heavy rocket. Launch Video | Read our full story.

Delta IV Heavy Set to Launch NROL-37

United Launch Alliance

A United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket is prepared to launch the classified spy satellite NROL-37 at Space Complex 37 of Cape Canaveral Air Force Base in Florida. Here, the Mobile Service Tower is rolling back on June 9, 2016. Liftoff occurred on June 11. Launch Video | Read our full story.

Delta IV Heavy Rocket and NROL-37 Payload

ULA

The NROL-37 spy satellite and Delta IV Heavy rocket on the pad at Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station ahead of a planned June 9, 2016 launch. Launch Video | Read our full story.

Delta IV Heavy Set to Launch NROL-37

United Launch Alliance

A United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket is prepared to launch the classified spy satellite NROL-37 at Space Complex 37 of Cape Canaveral Air Force Base in Florida. Here, the Mobile Service Tower is rolling back on June 9, 2016. Liftoff occurred on June 11. Launch Video | Read our full story.

Mobile Service Tower Retracts

ULA

The Mobile Service Tower at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex-37 is rolled back in preparation for launch of the NROL-37 mission on a Delta IV Heavy rocket. Launch Video | Read our full story.

NROL-37 on the Launch Pad

ULA

The NROL-37 spy satellite and its Delta IV Heavy rocket on the launch pad ahead of a planned launch on June 9, 2016. Bad weather caused the launch to be pushed to June 11. Launch Video | Read our full story.

Mike Wall
SPACE.COM SENIOR SPACE WRITER — Michael has been writing for Space.com since 2010. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter. 

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