NROL-68 (Delta-IV Heavy)
22 June 2023
Space Launch Complex 37
Cape Canaveral Space Force Station

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta-IV Heavy rocket launched a classified payload on the NROL-68 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) from Space Launch Complex-37 (SLC-37) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 5:18 a.m. on 22 June 2023.

This is the second to last flight of a Delta-IV Heavy, which will be retired after its next flight.

For more than sixty years, the NRO has developed, acquired, launched and operated the satellites that are the foundation for America’s advantage and strength in space. Using a diversified and resilient architecture of spacecraft, NRO collects and delivers the best space-based intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance content on the planet. NRO data supports the National Security Agency, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and other NRO mission partners to produce intelligence products for the President, Congress, national policymakers, warfighters, and civil users. The NRO’s hybrid overhead architecture is designed to provide global coverage against a wide range of intelligence requirements, carry out research and development efforts, and assist emergency and disaster-relief efforts in the U.S. and around the world.

The baby dragon illustrates the birth of a new satellite system while the moon with the mother dragon silhouette represent protection of the Five Eyes community, the nation, and its allies. The passage along the bottom, NUSQUAM CELARE is Latin for “Nowhere to Hide.”

The baby dragon may be science fiction, but NROL-68’s impact on national security is real!

RIGHT: NROL-68 mission patch. IMAGE CREDIT: NRO

United Launch Alliance’s Delta-IV Heavy is a heavy-lift launch vehicle, the largest type of the Delta-IV family and one of the world’s most powerful rockets. The Delta-IV Heavy configuration is comprised of a common booster core (CBC), a cryogenic upper stage and a 5-meter- diameter payload fairing (PLF). The Delta-IV Heavy employs two additional CBCs as liquid rocket boosters to augment the first-stage CBC. The Delta-IV Heavy can lift 28,370 kg (62,540 lbs) to low Earth orbit and 13,810 kg (30,440 lbs) to geostationary transfer orbit. It is an all liquid-fueled rocket, consisting of an upper stage, one main booster and two strap-on boosters.


Delta-IV Heavy flight profile. IMAGE CREDIT: ULA
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