There’s a top secret satellite launching this afternoon, and you can watch it firsthand. Sort of. At 1:59 pm ET, a Delta IV rocket will send what is likely a spy satellite into space on behalf of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) — and it’ll be live cast here. Named the NROL-37 mission, everyone involved is remaining tight-lipped on the purpose of the launch, but we do know that it “supports national security.”
What little information we do have is that the NROL-37 features a mysterious mission patch, which “depicts a knight, a symbol of courage with a chivalrous code of conduct representing bravery, training, and service to others. The knight stands in front of the U.S. flag in a defensive posture as to protect at all cost.” Furthermore, the NRO claims, the eagle displayed on the knight’s chest is indicative of freedom, and the sword serves as “a message of tenacious, fierce focus with the claws representing extreme reach with global coverage.” What could it all mean?
There’s a little bit more information on the rocket itself, as the ULA’s Delta IV Heavy rocket currently claims the honor of being the most powerful rocket in the world. But that may soon no longer be the case, as SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket is expected to force the Delta off its throne later this year.
It’s actually quite rare for the Delta IV Heavy to go into space, as the last time the vehicle made a trip was back in 2014. In fact, since the rocket made its debut in 2004, it’s only flown eight times, mostly on behalf of the NRO.
Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station is currently on lightening watch, and is hopeful that the weather will hold for the slated 1:59 pm blast off time. The livecast will begin 20 minutes prior to launch at 1:39 pm, and you can watch all the action here.