Launch Spotlight: NROL-85 – SpaceX launches a new spy satellite to orbit from California

SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 from SLC-4E at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California on April 17, 2022, at 9:13 a.m. EDT. This launch will carry a spy satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office.

Launch Overview

Launch Date: April 17, 2022, 9:13 a.m. EDT

Payload: NROL-85

Rocket: SpaceX Falcon 9 (B1071-2)

Launch Pad: SLC-4E, Vandenberg Space Force Base, California

Destination: An Unspecified Orbit

Landing Site: Landing Zone 4, Vandenberg Space Force Base, California


The Mission

SpaceX will launch the NROL-85 payload to an unspecified orbit. Not much is known about the payload. The first stage booster will return to Landing Zone 4 following stage separation.


What is the Falcon 9?

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket is the workhorse of commercial launches into Earth orbit. Nine Merlin engines power the partially reusable rocket on the first stage and a single vacuum optimized Merlin on the second stage. The Falcon 9 has launched a total of 147 times with a 98% success rate, making it a highly trusted vehicle among the commercial, scientific, and defense sectors.


The Booster

B1071-2is set to launch the NROL-85 mission. The following is the flight log for this booster.

B1071 Flight Log

  • NROL-87
  • NROL-85

The Weather

April 17, 2022

  • TBA

24-hour Delay

  • TBA

Last Updated: April 15, 12:13 a.m. EDT


Where to watch?

You can find coverage of Wednesday’s launch on SpaceX’s YouTube channel. The live stream will usually go live about 15 minutes before liftoff and will offer the best views of the launch.

Featured Image: NROL-87 – SpaceX

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