Stay up late to watch ULA launch a secret satellite with its most powerful rocket

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<em>The Delta IV Heavy ahead of the NROL-71 mission</em>” src=”https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/jQezvnLt4D9ea9T3cASEx2rDwIU=/0x0:1800×1200/1310×873/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/62643624/46160720932_7f5ddce03e_o.0.jpg”></p>
<p id=Tonight, the United Launch Alliance (ULA) is set to launch its most powerful rocket — the Delta IV Heavy — sending up a secret spy satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) from California. The mission will be the 132nd mission for the ULA, and the latest of many launches the company has done for the NRO, a significant customer of the launch provider.

As is the case with all NRO launches, it’s unclear what’s actually going into space; the NRO keeps the purposes of its missions under wraps. However, the satellite is likely pretty heavy and is perhaps going to a high orbit if it requires the power of the Delta IV Heavy. The rocket consists of three cores strapped together, which provide more than 2 million pounds of thrust at…

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