NROL-82 launch highlights integration for Space Force Chief

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Andrew Moore
  • Space and Missile Systems Center Public Affairs

The U.S. Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center Launch Enterprise, in partnership with the National Reconnaissance Office, United Launch Alliance and the 30th Space Wing, successfully launched the NROL-82 mission on ULA’s Delta IV Heavy rocket, April 26, 2021, from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

Present for the launch was Gen. John W. "Jay" Raymond, Chief of Space Operations, who applauded the collaboration between Airmen, Guardians, and interagency and commercial partners.

“Space is a team sport and it took a lot of different skill sets to be able to make this launch a reality today,” Raymond said. “Everything from the engineers who help develop the payloads, cyber specialists protecting against threats, intelligence professionals making sure that the launch is secure, to operators conducting the launch; it's something that takes, in the case of this launch, a significant amount of time and a significant amount of expertise for it to all come together.”

As an expendable launch system, the Delta IV Heavy has launched some of NRO’s heaviest payloads for the past decade, providing space capabilities that directly enhance national security.

“Space underpins everything that we do as a nation,” Raymond said. “Every launch is important, either diplomatically, militarily, or economically. This NRO launch was no different in that it will help secure our national advantage.” 

Col. Anthony Mastalir, 30th Space Wing commander, echoed the importance of the launch as well as synergy between Airmen, Guardians and supporting organizations.

“The teamwork between the 30th Space Wing, the 2nd Space Launch Squadron, the National Reconnaissance Office, United Launch Alliance, and numerous other agencies was outstanding,” said Mastalir. “National Security Space Launch is a ‘no-fail’ mission that requires the highest level of professionalism and dedication from all the Airmen and Guardians assigned to Team Vandenberg.”

NROL-82 is the USSF’s first National Security Space Launch of 2021 and the NRO’s 18th mission from Vandenberg since 2006.

“The domain we operate in has become more congested, more contested, and more competitive,” Raymond explained. “Partnerships like the one we enjoy with the NRO allow us to integrate— to share people, concepts, strategies, and now share programs.  In our second year as a new service, this integration will only increase the depth and value of our partnership with NRO.”