NROL-52 flies on the fifth attempt

The Atlas V, performing flawlessly to place the classified NROL-52 payload into its unspecified orbit*, had a rare fifth launch attempt today.  This is the first time any Atlas V rocket has had to make this many attempts.  Of course, this one was launching from Florida, which is known for its fickle weather.  But fifth time was the charm, and the spacecraft is away!

 

*Spaceflight observers suspect that NROL-52 is a data relay satellite intended for geostationary orbit.  If they’re right, it will perform for the National Reconniassance Office a role similar to the civilian TDRS satellites operated by NASA, which allow continuous contact with spacecraft such as the ISS and the Hubble Space Telescope, among others.

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