A sailboat and a pelican pass the steaming Atlas 2AS rocket waiting to carry, according to the press release, a “National security payload, designated NROL-1” into orbit for the National Reconnaissance Office---government language for a spy satellite. The top right inset shows the liftoff at 7:17 p.m. on 31 August 2004 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Booster rocket separation is shown in the lower inset. This is the last Atlas 2AS that will fly because the model has been discontinued.
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