19 November 2016, 23:51 GMT
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The launch of a top-secret US government payload atop an Atlas V rocket has been scheduled for March 1, the United Launch Alliance (ULA) announced in a press release.
"NROL-79 will mark the 70th Atlas V launch and the 35th in the 401 configuration since the rocket’s inaugural mission in 2002," the release stated.
NROL refers to launches by the National Reconnaissance Office, a US intelligence agency that operates spy satellites.
ULA, a joint venture between Lockheed-Martin and Boeing, uses different models of Atlas V rocket such as the 401 configuration for commercial space launches.
The two-stage Atlas V depends on a Russian made RD-180 engine to power the first stage and a US-made RL10 engine for its second stage.