Sunday, February 6, 2011

Photo of the Day - NRO Minotaur I Rocket Launch

A Minotaur I rocket was launched from Space Launch Complex-8 here at 4:26 a.m. (PST) Feb. 6. The rocket carried a national security payload for the National Reconnaissance Office.
(Photo Credit: U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Lael Huss)

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- U.S. Military Launches Secret Satellite to Test Space Spy Tech
A trailblazing payload for the National Reconnaissance Office successfully rocketed into orbit on a Minotaur 1 booster Sunday, beginning a secret mission testing new ways to collect intelligence from space.

The mission was codenamed NROL-66 in the agency's rocket acquisition naming system. The payload is also called RPP, which is short for Rapid Pathfinder Program.

"I commend everyone who made this launch successful," said Robert Brodowski, director of the NRO's advanced science and technology directorate. "This mission is just one example of our ability to rapidly build and launch small spacecraft with on-orbit capabilities that increase the value of NRO systems to our nation's future."

An NRO spokesperson disclosed before launch the payload will demonstrate better ways for U.S. government satellites to gather intelligence.

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