Atlas V rocket launches with satellite from Cape Canaveral

Rocket carries classified satellite, officials say

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - The Atlas V rocket launched on Wednesday carrying classified National Reconnaissance Office satellite from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The rocket successfully launched at 8:28 a.m. The mission, designated as NROL-38, is in support of national defense, according to a release.

"Congratulations to the NRO and to all the mission partners involved in this critical national security launch," said Jim Sponnick, ULA vice president, Mission Operations in a release. "This launch marks an important milestone as we celebrate the 50th successful Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) mission, with 31 Atlas V and 19 Delta IV missions flown since August 2002."

Launch of the secret satellite atop an Atlas V rocket was planned for Monday, but delayed two days for replacement of an environmental control system duct that failed near its connection to a mobile launch platform.

NROL-38 is the first of three critical missions ULA is scheduled to launch within the next two months.

"Twelve of the 50 EELV launches have been NRO missions and these have been vital to our overall mission of delivering on commitments critical to our national security," said Bruce Carlson, director, National Reconnaissance Office in a release. "I thank and congratulate ULA and the EELV program for the tremendous performance and achievement of this very impressive and noteworthy milestone."

The next launch is scheduled June 28 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Watch Local 6 News at Noon for more information.

Copyright 2012 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.