05:15 GMT +321 October 2019
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    Atlas V Rocket Launch of Classified US Payload Set for March 1

    © Photo : NASA/Kim Shiflett
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    ULA announced that the launch of a top-secret US government payload atop an Atlas V rocket has been scheduled for March 1.

    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.


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