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Launch Photos: Spy Satellite NROL-71 Soars on Secret Mission Atop Delta IV Heavy Rocket

Another Setback

United Launch Alliance

In mid-December, ULA again tried to launch the NROL-71 mission, only to find a hydrogen leak in one of the Delta IV Heavy rocket's boosters. The mission was called off to make fixes.

Another Target

United Launch Alliance

ULA initially aimed for Dec. 30 to attempt another launch of NROL-71, but stood down to complete work on the hydrogen leak fix.

NROL-71 Rolling Out

United Launch Alliance

The NROL-71 spy satellite and its United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Ready to Fly

By the second week of January, the Delta IV Heavy was ready to fly. This long-exposure image shows the rollback of the mobile service tower from the rocket during launch preparations.

Service Tower Rollback

United Launch Alliance

The NROL-71 spy satellite and its United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

ULA NROL-71 Mission Art

ULA

Mission artwork for NROL-71, a reconnaissance payload that launched atop a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket on Jan. 19, 2019.

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