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NROL-85 launches from Vandenberg SFB

Team Vandenberg launched the National Reconnaissance Office mission (NROL-85) from Space Launch Complex-4 East at Vandenberg Space Force Base, Calif., at 6:30 a.m., PDT, April 17, 2022.

Col. Rob Long, Space Launch Delta 30 commander, was the launch decision authority.

“Today the Western Range teamed with the National Reconnaissance Office to deliver a critical national security payload, which will provide our warfighters and decision-makers with vital intelligence data,” said Col. Rob Long, Space Launch Delta 30 commander. “This is the 20th NRO launch from the Western Range since 1996 and I’m proud of both the team today and the long-standing and strong partnership with the NRO. Go NROL-85!”

NROL-85 is the first NRO mission to reuse a SpaceX rocket booster. NROL-87, launched only two months earlier, was the first NRO launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket intended to be reused for a future mission.

NROL-85 is the second Falcon 9 launch procured through the National Security Space Launch (NSSL) contract to launch from the Western Range. Following the launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 the mission’s first stage returned to land on Landing Zone 4 at Vandenberg Space Force Base.

Space Launch Delta 30’s primary responsibilities include maintaining and operating the Western range, safeguarding the public, providing mission assurance and ensuring minimal environmental impact so we can provide services, facilities and range safety control for the execution of DoD, civil and commercial launches.

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