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Atlas launches NRO satellite
Posted: Thu, Oct 11, 2001, 9:43 AM ET (1343 GMT)
Atlas 2AS launches NRO spacecraft An Atlas 2 booster successfully launched a classified satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office Wednesday night. The Atlas 2AS, codenamed "Aquila", lifted off from Cape Canaveral at 10:32 pm EDT (0232 GMT Thursday) and placed its payload into a geosynchronous orbit 29 minutes later. The NRO did not provide any information about the spacecraft launched Wednesday, but outside observers believe that it is either a signals intelligence satellite or a data relay spacecraft. The launch is the second classified launch in less than a week, after a Titan 4B launched what it believed to be an advanced reconnaissance satellite from Vandenberg Air Force Base on Friday. Wednesday's launch was the fourth this year, and the 58th consecutive successful Atlas launch dating back to 1993.
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