NRO Launch 27
Mission typeCommunication
COSPAR ID2011-011A Edit this at Wikidata
SATCAT no.37377
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft typeSDS-3
Start of mission
Launch date11 March 2011, 23:38:00 UTC
RocketDelta IV-M+(4,2)
(Delta D353)
Launch siteCape Canaveral, SLC-37B
ContractorUnited Launch Alliance
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric orbit
RegimeGeosynchronous orbit
Longitude30.4° West

USA-227, known before launch as NRO Launch 27 (NROL-27), is an American communications satellite which was launched in 2011. It is operated by the United States National Reconnaissance Office.


United Launch Alliance (ULA) performed the launch of USA-227, using a Delta IV-M+(4,2) launch vehicle flying from Space Launch Complex 37B at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS). The launch occurred at 23:38:00 UTC on 11 March 2011.[1] Following liftoff the rocket flew east, placing the satellite into a geosynchronous transfer orbit. By 23:43 UTC, official updates on the status of the launch had been discontinued.[2]


Whilst details of its mission are officially classified, amateur observers have identified USA-227 as being a third-generation Satellite Data System satellite in geosynchronous orbit.[3] The first amateur observation of the satellite was made on 6 April 2011,[4][5] when the spacecraft was located at a longitude of 30.4° west.[5] SDS satellites are used to relay data from American reconnaissance satellites to ground stations.


  1. ^ McDowell, Jonathan. "Launch Log". Jonathan's Space Page. Retrieved 24 April 2011.
  2. ^ Ray, Justin. "Mission Status Center". Delta Mission Report. Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 24 April 2011.
  3. ^ Ray, Justin (11 April 2011). "Information-routing satellite was deployed by Delta 4". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 24 April 2011.
  4. ^ Wakelin, Peter (7 April 2011). "SATOBS 2011 April 06-07". SeeSat-L. Retrieved 24 April 2011.
  5. ^ a b Ted, Molczan (9 April 2011). "NROL-27 / USA 227". SeeSat-L. Retrieved 24 April 2011.