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Atlas IV NROL-47

The Delta IV rocket that is scheduled to launch the NROL-47 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office sits on its pad this month at Vandenberg Air Force Base. The liftoff of the United Launch Alliance-built rocket is set for 1 p.m. Wednesday.

Contributed by United Launch Alliance

A Delta IV rocket equipped with a secret payload from the National Reconnaissance Office is set to blast off from Vandenberg Air Force Base early Wednesday afternoon.

The United Launch Alliance rocket is scheduled to lift off from VAFB’s Space Launch Complex-6 during a window that will begin at 1 p.m. The launch, if it goes off as planned, would be the first of the year from Vandenberg. The mission is dubbed NROL-47.

Col. Greg Wood, the 30th Space Wing vice commander, will serve as the space launch commander.

“We are ready and eager to take on this Delta launch,” Wood said in a Friday release sent out by VAFB public affairs. “We are proud to provide this national defense capability, and every Team V member involved has tirelessly worked to ensure the launch is safe and successful.”

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Vandenberg’s 4th Space Launch Squadron is in final preparations for the launch with a group of mission partners from both ULA and the NRO, which is the U.S. government’s agency in charge of designing, building, launching and maintaining America’s intelligence satellites.

“The 4th Space Launch Squadron’s mission assurance technicians, engineers, and program managers are laser-focused on ensuring that all flight hardware, infrastructure and facilities are ready to go for launch,” said Maj. Allen Varghese, the 4th Space Launch Squadron director of operations. “Our squadron has worked side by side with ULA personnel over the past several months to ensure this mission’s success.”

The Hawk’s Nest on Highway 1, about a half mile south of VAFB’s main gate, will be accessible for members of the public who wish to view the launch. The Hawk’s Nest gates will be opened at 12:15 p.m. Wednesday, according to base officials.

Willis Jacobson covers the city of Lompoc for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter @WJacobsonLR.