Watch a Delta IV rocket launch a secret satellite to space


This afternoon, the United Launch Alliance is set to launch a classified spy satellite on one of its Delta IV rockets from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. This will be ULA’s first launch of 2018, and the 27th launch for the US National Reconnaissance Office, which operates a host of satellites used for intelligence gathering and surveillance.

The mission — dubbed NROL-47 — is classified, so we don’t know much about the payload and what it’ll be used for once in orbit. What we do know is that the NROL-47 mission patch depicts a white knight brandishing a sword at a terrifying brown dragon. A Latin phrase on the patch promises that “evil will never prevail.” This latest mission patch is part of a long tradition of just plainly weird patches that the NRO issues for each classified launch. Previous patches have included giant, three-headed monsters grasping the Earth, as well as knights and witches that seem to come out of a fantasy trilogy.

Check out our mission patch for #NROL47! The patch design depicts a classic battle between good and evil and represents…

Posted by National Reconnaissance Office on Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The NROL-47 launch was scheduled for January 10th, but it was scrapped because of high ground winds. The Delta IV rocket was supposed to take off today at 4PM ET, but was delayed multiple times because of technical problems. The new launch time is 7:05PM ET.

Update January 11th 6:12PM ET: The article has been updated multiple times to reflect launch delays.

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