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NROL 76 (USA 276)

The NROL 76 carried a not yet identified payload for the NRO launched as the first NRO payload on a SpaceX Falcon-9 v1.2 rocket. The target orbit is not known.

The published NOTAMS show a launch to a ~50 orbit with a non-planar launch window. It is a LEO mission. This kind of orbit is not used by any known NRO mission before, so likely it is a new type of payload or an experimental one-off payload, perhaps similar to the NROL-21 (USA 193).

The observation of an yet unidentified object might hint to an orbit similar to the ISS orbit.

The delayed deorbiting of the second stage might provide a hint on possible secondary payloads.

The SpaceX Falcon-9 v1.2 launch was contracted via Ball Aerospace, which is likely the builder of the satellite.

Note: The NROL designations refer to the launch, not to the payload.

Nation: USA
Type / Application: Technology ?
Operator: NRO
Contractors: Ball Aerospace ?
Equipment: ?
Configuration: ?
Propulsion: ?
Orbit: 400 km × 400 km, 51 ?
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
NROL 76 (USA 276) 2017-022A 01.05.2017 CCK LC-39A Falcon-9 v1.2