SpaceX has launched the National Reconnaissance Office Launch (NROL)-87 mission on their third dedicated mission for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). NROL-87 launched on top of a brand-new SpaceX Falcon 9 from Space Launch Complex-4 East (SLC-4E) at Vandenberg Space Force Base (VSFB) in California. Liftoff occurred on February 2 at 12:27 PM PST (20:27 UTC).
NROL-87 is the second of three missions planned for launch this week. After launching the CSG-2 mission from SLC-40 at Cape Canaveral Monday evening, NROL-87 precedes the Starlink Group 4-7 mission from LC-39A, launching no earlier than Thursday.
This mission was SpaceX’s fifth overall launch of the year and the first from Vandenberg. The flight utilized a brand-new booster, B1071, marking the first new booster to launch in 2022.