The Air Force and its industry partners successfully placed a National Reconnaissance Office payload into orbit aboard a new variant of United Launch Alliance’s Delta IV rocket launched from Vandenberg AFB, Calif. “Today’s successful launch is a tribute to the hard work and ingenuity of our government and contractor team and I am very proud of them,” said Col. James Fisher, NRO’s space launch director, in the organization’s release on Tuesday’s mission. “The teamwork between the 30th Space Wing, the National Reconnaissance Office, United Launch Alliance, and numerous other agencies was seamless,” added Col. Nina Armagno, commander of Vandy’s 30th Space Wing, in the wing’s release. She served as the launch decision authority. Tuesday’s mission was the first launch of the Delta IV Medium-plus 5.2 configuration, according to ULA. This variant features a single common booster core, plus two solid rocket motors and a five-meter-diameter upper stage and payload fairing, states ULA’s release.