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Silent Barker Mission Launches, Granting Unprecedented View for U.S. Space Force

An Atlas V rocket carried the classified Silent Barker multi-payload satellite into orbit

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Aditya Saikrishna
Aditya Saikrishna
I am 21 years old and an avid Motorsports enthusiast.

UNITED STATES: The United States Space Force, in collaboration with the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), is set to obtain unparalleled access to the farthest reaches of Earth’s orbit. 

On Sunday morning, the United Launch Alliance (ULA) successfully propelled the multi-payload Silent Barker mission, also known as NROL-107, into space atop an Atlas V rocket.

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The launch, initially scheduled for August 29, faced delays due to weather conditions caused by Tropical Storm Idalia. On September 9, a technical issue further postponed the mission. Nevertheless, the ULA’s Atlas V rocket, soaring into the sky at 8:47 a.m. EDT, marked a significant milestone for national security.

Silent Barker, the 18th Atlas V mission for the NRO, is on track to be replaced by the cutting-edge Vulcan Centaur rocket. This mission will deploy classified payloads into geosynchronous orbit, an area 22,236 miles above Earth, enabling spacecraft to hover over fixed positions.

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Lieutenant General Michael Guetlein, commander of Space Systems Command, emphasized that the mission’s purpose is to “deter aggression” by signalling to potential adversaries that the Space Force maintains a vigilant watch over geosynchronous orbit.

NRO Director Chris Scolese described Silent Barker as a “watchdog” in this orbit, responsible for monitoring satellites that reposition or exhibit unusual behaviour. 

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This includes satellites potentially posing a threat to high-value assets. While exact details about Silent Barker’s capabilities remain classified, it is confirmed to consist of multiple payloads. 

Air Force Space and Missile Systems awarded a contract modification to L3 Harris in 2021, with the program’s estimated total cost standing at nearly $994 million. Full operational capability is slated for 2026. Data from Silent Barker will be processed at the National Space Defense Center in Colorado Springs, with operational oversight by the NRO. 

This launch follows the establishment of specialized units within the U.S. Space Force dedicated to monitoring orbital threats and, if necessary, targeting enemy satellites. The Silent Barker mission represents a significant stride forward in safeguarding national interests beyond Earth’s atmosphere.

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