NROL-1 (Atlas 2AS)
31 August 2004
Space Launch Complex 36A
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station

An Atlas 2AS rocket launches, according to the press release, a “National security payload, designated NROL-1” into orbit for the National Reconnaissance Office and is, according to experts, most likely "a data relay satellite dubbed Quaser designed to transfer data from reconnaissance satellites." Liftoff occurred at 7:17 p.m. on 31 August 2004 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. This is the last Atlas 2AS that will fly because the model has been discontinued in favor of the newer, more powerful Atlas V rocket.

Updated June 2019: This is an update of the original post from 2004. It breaks down the collage, seen at the bottom of the page, into individual images showing the launch all taken through a telescope

The solid rocket boosters are jettisoned and fall away.
Below: The original collage image from 2004.
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