after a week Signs of the mission appeared for the first time, The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) confirmed that the mysterious SpaceX launch in October will carry a new spy satellite.
Known as NROL-108, the mission is interesting for a number of reasons, ranging from its implicit launch path, the potentially launched missile, and the secrecy surrounding it. While the launch of the NRO satellite and what the agency is doing in general is top secret, it is still extremely uncommon for a US government launch of any kind to remain classified only one month before take-off.
For SpaceX, the Zuma mysterious mission is the only American mission in recent memory to excel the level of secrecy of NROL-108, and remains essentially unknown. And the It was not claimed by any government agency before, during, and after the launch. However, the separate launch completed about half a year ago by Zuma helps shed light on SpaceX’s latest surprise contract.
The only mission the NROL-108 reminds us of is actually SpaceX’s first launch of the NRO – NROL-76. The payload was launched in May 2017, and the payload – which is believed to be involved in some kind of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) test of proximity operations – remains almost entirely classified and mysterious to this day. The highlight of the mission was the fact that the spacecraft repeatedly flew close flights to the International Space Station (ISS) – which is incredibly unusual in that NASA and Russia maintain tight control over what can and cannot be approached to the manned front station.
Like the NROL-76, the NROL-108 will be launched on the Falcon 9 missile, while the mission booster will be allowed to attempt to return to the launch site (RTLS) to land on the ground. For the Falcon 9, the RTLS boosted landing essentially indicates that the launched payload is lightweight, destined for the LEO, or a combination of the two. While the NROL-76 was similar in this respect, the The NRO revealed the NROL-76 And she confirmed that SpaceX will launch the mission a full 10 months before the launch date.
For NROL-108, only NRO has confirmed its SpaceX launch plans distance The FCC documents have revealed a kind of mysterious mission scheduled for October 2020. Even for the NRO, detecting the launch less than a month before takeoff is completely unnatural.
Also abnormal: Unless SpaceX can land an entire building-sized Falcon 9 booster from Los Angeles to Cape Canaveral, the NROL-108 likely represents the spy agency’s launch of a commercial, flight-proven missile. SpaceX technically has no fewer than three new Falcon 9 boosters in various stages of preparation for the launch of NASA and the US Army in October TBD (GPS III SV04) and November (Crew-1, Sentinel 6A) but all three speak firmly.
According to th Official confirmation of NRO with SpaceflightNow, The SpaceX Falcon 9 missile to launch NROL-108 is scheduled to be launched no later than (NET) 25 October. The company faces an expanded statement for the fourth quarter of 2020, including GPS III SV04 (October TBD), the newest Sirius XM radio satellite (NET early November), Sentinel 6A oceanography satellite (NET 10 November), the first astronaut launch My operation of Crew Dragon (NET mid-November), first launch of Cargo Dragon 2 (NET November 22), Turkish communications satellite (NET November 30), and many other Starlink missions.
Check out Teslarati newsletters For quick updates, views on the ground, and unique glimpses of missile launches and recoveries from SpaceX.