19:32 GMT16 May 2021
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United Launch Alliance (ULA) successfully launched a Delta IV heavy rocket at 4:47 pm local Pacific Time carrying heavy satellite payload NROL-82 into orbit for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

    "Plus 60 seconds into this US national security launch of NROL-82 from the West Coast. Delta IV Heavy is traveling over 1,000 mph (miles per hour) already," Mission Control at B Vandenberg announced after the lift-off on Monday.

    The Delta IV heavy rocket launched off the pad on schedule the power of three RS-68A main engines generating 2.1 million pounds of thrust. The vehicle hit Mach 1 and surpassed the region of maximum air pressure by T+plus 90 seconds, ULA said.

    The outer boosters separated about four minutes into flight, followed by staging and ignition of the second stage two minutes later, ULA added.

    Despite the successful launch, it still became a source of memes for some Twitter users.

    Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, space, orbit
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