Payload hoisted atop Atlas for NROL-38


Posted: June 15, 2012

About 10 days before its scheduled launch, a classified satellite payload already encapsulated in a four-meter-diameter nose cone was hoisted into the open doorway at the Vertical Integration Facility at Cape Canaveral's Complex 41 for attachment atop the United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket.

The bullet-shaped shroud protects the satellite during ascent through Earth's atmosphere and then gets jettisoned to uncover the craft after the threshold the space is reached.

The payload is known only as NROL-38 for the National Reconnaissance Office.

See our Mission Status Center for the latest news on the launch.

Photo credit: United Launch Alliance

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