Classified NRO Satellite Launched by Minotaur 1

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The U.S. National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) on Feb. 6 successfully launched a classified small satellite aboard a Minotaur 1 rocket out of Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., the NRO announced Feb. 6.

The NRO, which builds and operates the nation’s spy satellites, is in the midst of its most aggressive launch campaign of the last 25 years, officials have said. The launch was the fourth conducted for the NRO since September. The NRO’s next launch of a presumably larger spacecraft is scheduled for March 11 aboard a Delta 4 rocket out of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.

The Minotaur 1 rocket, built by Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Va., notched its ninth successful launch in as many tries.

The entire Minotaur family now has a perfect record in 20 launches since 2000, according to a Feb. 7 Orbital Sciences press release.