NRO prefers Space X for launches

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying National Reconnaissance Office mission (NROL-85) launches from Space Launch Complex-4 East at Vandenberg Space Force Base, Calif., on Sunday morning, April 17, 2022. (Michael Peterson/Space Launch Delta 30 Public Affairs/USNorthCom via AP) 

“A classified satellite for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office was launched into space from California on Sunday.

The NROL-85 satellite lifted off at 6:13 a.m. from Vandenberg Space Force Base aboard a two-stage SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

It was the first mission by the NRO to reuse a SpaceX rocket booster, Vandenberg said in a statement.

The Falcon’s first stage flew back and landed at the seaside base northwest of Los Angeles.

The NRO only described the NROL-85 satellite as a “critical national security payload.”

Its launch was one of three awarded by the Air Force to SpaceX in 2019 for a combined fixed price of $297 million.

The NRO is the government agency in charge of developing, building, launching and maintaining U.S. satellites that provide intelligence data to senior policymakers, the intelligence community and the Defense Department.” AP

Comment: I find it remarkable that NRO (a government agency) would rather rent a ride on Musk’s company than use a NASA booster from (another government agency) pl

US Intelligence Satellite Launched From California |

National Reconnaissance Office – Wikipedia

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7 Responses to NRO prefers Space X for launches

  1. TTG says:

    Good to see you posting again, Colonel Lang.

    SpaceX is now a well proven national capability. It definitely shows the military-industrial complex is alive and well.

  2. Lars says:

    There has been a rather intense debate within NASA regarding future use of launching capabilities. A major problem is that congress critters want to keep parts made in their districts, regardless of budget and time over runs that are now significant. Others want to use privately owned companies, like SpaceX that can save them a lot of money, by reusing their rockets, which the NASA contractors cannot do. So, I am not surprised the rebels are winning.

  3. Sam says:

    Col. Lang,

    Trust you’re recuperating well.

    Isn’t a NASA rocket typically provided by a private defense contractor like Boeing and Lockheed? I find it remarkable that Elon’s SpaceX has come so far, so fast and is beating the competition for these government contracts from the traditional players who have had years of lobbying experience.

    It would be awesome to see other entrepreneurs take on the entrenched players in ship building and other complex systems to revive the next generation of American manufacturing. Wall St and the political duopoly shipped the earlier generation overseas and enabled the rise in communist China as a manufacturing powerhouse.

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