The upcoming National Reconnaissance Office Launch (NROL)-129 mission is scheduled to lift off at 9:00 a.m. EST (6:00 a.m. Pacific) on July 15 from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s Pad 0B at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
The latest weather briefings issued today from Wallops Island is “looking good,” with only a 10 percent Probability of Violation, or 90 percent favorable conditions, with light and variable ground and upper winds, and a potential for some clouds.
A “Consent to Launch” decision was issued today by the NRO, partnered with the U.S. Space Force and the Space and Missile Systems Center’s Launch Enterprise Rocket Systems Launch Program (RSLP) at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico which prepared the NROL-129 mission.
Lt. Col. Ryan Rose, Chief of SMC’s Launch Enterprise Small Launch and Targets Division provided SMC’s “Readiness and Go for Launch” status for tomorrow’s (July 15) mission. Live streaming video of Wednesday’s scheduled launch will be available to news media and the general public, starting at 8:30 a.m. EST (5:30 a.m. Pacific) via the NASA Wallops YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/NASAWallops
The Minotaur IV launch vehicle, built by Northrop Grumman Corporation and acquired by SMC and RSLP, will launch the NROL-129 mission. Northrop Grumman was contracted by SMC to provide the launch vehicle design, integration, and interface to the space vehicle, vehicle mating, mission planning and launch of the Minotaur IV.
“We pride ourselves on being able to meet all the launch service needs of the national defense satellite market,” stated Col. Robert Bongiovi, director of SMC’s Launch Enterprise. “This is another demonstration of the USSF’s ability to safely place payloads, from the smallest scientific, experimental and operational satellites, to the most valuable payloads, into any orbit for our NRO mission partner.”
Original launch story…
The U.S. Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center recently completed its Flight Readiness Review and remains on track to launch the National Reconnaissance Office Launch-129 (NROL-129) mission no earlier than July 15 from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) Pad 0B at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
This mission is managed by the SMC Launch Enterprise’s Rocket Systems Launch Program (RSLP) and was awarded under the Orbital/Suborbital Program 3 (OSP-3) Lane 1 capability.
“We look forward to launching NROL-129 for our National Reconnaissance Office customer,” said Brig. Gen. Jason Cothern, SMC Vice Sommander and U.S. Air Force program executive officer for Space Enterprise. “This is a great example of using SMC’s small launch contracts to expand our capability to provide reliable assured access to space.”
“We have successfully launched 26 Minotaur missions with our last Minotaur mission from Wallops in 2013,” stated Lt. Col. Ryan Rose, Chief of SMC’s Launch Small Launch and Targets Division. “This will be our first U.S. Space Force mission and the first dedicated NRO mission from Wallops. We look forward to continuing to launch national priority satellites for our NRO partner.” Rose is responsible for the launch service which includes range support, launch vehicle integration, space vehicle interface and mating, and the launch service for this important mission.