A National Reconnaissance Office satellite (NROL-52) blasted off on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas 5 rocket Oct. 15 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The 3:28 a.m. liftoff of the classified intelligence satellite from Space Launch Complex-41 was originally planned for Oct. 6 but was delayed by weather and a problem with a telemetry transmitter on the rocket. The transmitter was replaced.

An Atlas V launches for an NROL mission.  Photo: ULA
An Atlas V launches for an NROL mission. Photo: ULA

“After recovering from Hurricane Irma that came through the area last month, and the last week’s weather challenges, the team found the right opportunity [Sunday] to deliver this critical national asset to orbit,” said Laura Maginnis, ULA vice president of government satellite launch. 

The mission is the fourth of five NRO launches slated for 2017. The last one is scheduled for December at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

NROL-52 was ULA’s 26th launch for the NRO, a joint Department of Defense–Intelligence Community organization. ULA is a joint venture of Boeing [BA] and Lockheed Martin [LMT].