Weather and Minotaur IV rocket are "Go" for July 15 morning launch of NROL-129 mission

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  • By SMC Public Affairs
  • Space and Missile Systems Center

The upcoming National Reconnaissance Office Launch (NROL)-129 mission is scheduled to lift off at 9 a.m. EST (6 a.m. Pacific) July 15 from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s Pad 0B at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.   Latest weather briefings issued today from Wallops Island is “looking good,” with only a 10 percent Probability of Violation, or 90 percent favorable conditions, with light and variable ground and upper winds, and a potential for some clouds.

A “Consent to Launch” decision was issued today by the NRO, partnered with the U.S. Space Force and the Space and Missile Systems Center’s Launch Enterprise Rocket Systems Launch Program (RSLP) at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico which prepared the NROL-129 mission. Lt. Col. Ryan Rose, chief of SMC’s Launch Enterprise Small Launch and Targets Division, provided SMC’s “Readiness and Go for Launch” status for tomorrow’s mission.

Live streaming video of Wednesday’s scheduled launch will be available to news media and the general public, starting at 8:30 a.m. EST (5:30 a.m. Pacific) via the NASA Wallops YouTube channel at

The Minotaur IV launch vehicle, built by Northrop Grumman Corporation and acquired by SMC and RSLP, will launch the NROL-129 mission. Northrop Grumman was contracted by SMC to provide the launch vehicle design, integration, and interface to the space vehicle, vehicle mating, mission planning and launch of the Minotaur IV. 

“We pride ourselves on being able to meet all the launch service needs of the national defense satellite market,” stated Col. Robert Bongiovi, director of SMC’s Launch Enterprise. “This is another demonstration of the USSF’s ability to safely place payloads, from the smallest scientific, experimental and operational satellites, to the most valuable payloads, into any orbit for our NRO mission partner.”

The U.S. Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center, located at Los Angeles Air Force Base in El Segundo, California, is the center of excellence for acquiring and developing military space systems. SMC’s portfolio includes space launch, global positioning systems, military satellite communications, a defense meteorological satellite control network, range systems, space-based infrared systems, and space situational awareness capabilities.


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