The Air Force, National Reconnaissance Office, and their industry partners have successfully launched a United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket carrying a classified NRO satellite from Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., into space. “I am extremely proud of the entire government and contractor team who supported this launch,” said Col. Alan Davis, director of NRO’s Office of Space Launch. Col James Ross, 45th Space Wing vice commander, added: “This mission helps ensure that crucial NRO resources will continue to strengthen our national defense.” This mission on March 11, NROL-27, was the fifth of six planned during NRO’s 50th anniversary year in 2010-2011. “I am looking forward to the launch of NROL-34 in April, which will conclude our most aggressive launch schedule in over two decades,” said Davis. The previous NRO launch took place Feb. 5 at Vandenberg AFB, Calif. (Cape Canaveral release)
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.