NROL-101 (Atlas V)
13 November 2020
Space Launch Complex 41
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket launched the NROL-101 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 5:32 p.m. on 13 November 2020. The payload is classified but is most likely an intelligence gathering satellite. The Atlas V flew with the assistance of three solid rocket boosters for the initial phase of its flight.
An astounding number of birds flew across the Banana River in front of the pad.
Launching at sunset the rocket flew up into the light of the Sun.
The three solid rocket boosters separate and fall away.
The two halves of the fairing that encapsulate the satellite to protect it during flight through the atmosphere separate and fall away with some associated hardware.
The exhaust cloud dissipates in the wind. Note the shadow from the cloud still lit by the setting Sun.
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