04 August 2022
by Oishee Majumdar
Rocket Lab launched NROL-199, co-developed by the US NRO and the Australian DoD, with the help of its Electron rocket from a spaceport in New Zealand's Māhia Peninsula on 4 August. (Rocket Lab )
The second of the two surveillance satellites co-developed by the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) of the United States and the Australian Department of Defence (DoD) was launched by the US-based Rocket Lab from its spaceport in New Zealand's Māhia Peninsula on 4 August.
The US NRO and Rocket Lab confirmed the launch of this second satellite, named ‘Antipodean Adventure' or NROL-199, on Twitter.
The first satellite named ‘Wise One Looks Ahead' or NROL-162 along with NROL-199 “carry national security payloads” designed and built by the US NRO in partnership with the Australian DoD, a spokesperson for the NRO told Janes on 3 August.
The two agencies will collaborate in operating these satellites, the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson said that the NROL-162 and NROL-199 “missions are the latest examples of NRO's commitment to enhancing relationships” with the US' “allies and partners and demonstrates NRO's capability to consecutively launch multiple rockets from overseas locations”.
Such NRO missions collect space-based intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) and “provide critical information to more than a half-million government users including government agencies, the [US] Department of Defense, lawmakers, and decision makers”, the spokesperson added.
The spokesperson declined to comment on the private companies that were involved in the development of the payloads. “The vendor(s) for the payload and other specific NRO launch activities are protected,” the spokesperson said.
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The second of the two surveillance satellites co-developed by the National Reconnaissance Office (NR...