U.S. (CNN) — The U.S. plans to put a top-secret spy satellite into orbit atop the country’s biggest rocket on Wednesday.
The mission, dubbed NROL-65, is scheduled to lift off from Vandenberg Air Force Base north of Los Angeles at 10:52 a.m. Pacific time.
It is carrying a satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office, which is “in charge of designing, building, launching, and maintaining America’s intelligence satellites,” according to its website.
The payload in Wednesday’s launch is thought to be “a $1-billion high-powered spy satellite capable of snapping pictures detailed enough to distinguish the make and model of an automobile hundreds of miles below,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
Lifting it into Earth orbit will be the Delta IV Heavy rocket, a 232-foot-tall booster developed by the U.S. Air Force and the United Launch Alliance, a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin.
NROL-65 is the second launch from Vandenberg of the Delta IV Heavy. The first was in January 2011.
By Brad Lendon
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