Rockets flying from both sides of the world!

FIrst off, yesterday saw the launch and subsequent docking of Progress M-23M, marking the fifty-fifth Progress flight to the ISS:

And then today, an Atlas V launched carrying a classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office.  It’s a configuration that has only launch once before: Atlas 541, which previously launched the Curiosity rover to Mars.  The number indicates a 5 meter fairing, 4 strap-on booster, and a single-engine Centaur.  The sheer power suggests this vehicle is headed directly into geostationary orbit.

ULA launch highlights video:

Now, obviously we don’t really know what’s on that rocket, where it’s going, or what it will be doing, but experienced observers of classified payloads have a short list of possibilities.  NASASpaceFlight.com has an interesting discussion on the subject of NROL-67’s capabilities and mission.

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