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45 SW LAUNCHES NRO SATELLITE ON BOARD ATLAS V

Brig. Gen. Anthony Cotton served as the Launch Decision Authority for Wednesday's NRO Launch at the Morrell Operations Center. To his right is Lt. Col. Brian Renga, 45th Launch Group deputy commander. (Photo by  Julie Dayringer)

Brig. Gen. Anthony Cotton served as the Launch Decision Authority for Wednesday's NRO Launch at the Morrell Operations Center. To his right is Lt. Col. Brian Renga, 45th Launch Group deputy commander. (Photo by Julie Dayringer)

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. -- The 45th Space Wing successfully launched a United Launch Alliance-built Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 today carrying a classified National Reconnaissance Office satellite.

This was a historic launch of the Air Force's Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program, which has launches from both CCAFS and Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

"Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicles have allowed us to successfully launch 50 nationally critical missions over the last 10 years. We are proud of this launch success record, an amazing record in the history of space flight," said Gen. William Shelton, Commander, Air Force Space Command.

The 45th Space Wing commander was also pleased with the performance of the team for this historic launch.

"The 45th Space Wing is glad it was able to work with the NRO, ULA and other mission partners to make this launch a success," said Brig. Gen. Anthony Cotton, who also served as the Launch Decision Authority for the launch. "It's our team's honor to be able to support missions such as these."