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USA 276 (NROL 76)

The NROL 76 launch 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, although none had been founds.

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
USA 276 (NROL 76) 2017-022A 01.05.2017 CCK LC-39A Falcon-9 v1.2

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