An Atlas V in a 541 configuration is carrying a secret payload from the National Reconnaissance Office on mission NROL-35. The payload is encapsulated in the Short 5 meter payload fairing of the Atlas V.
In its 541 configuration, the Atlas V uses its Common Core Booster with four AJ-60A Solid Rocket Motors attached to it. Sitting atop the Common Core Booster is the trusted Centaur Upper Stage that itself can look back at a five-decade long career, but the NROL-35 launch will be its first using the new RL-10C-1 engine, a close relative to the previously used RL-10A-4-2 engine.
UPDATE: It was successfully launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base Launch complex 3E on Friday Dec 12, 2014 at 7:19 pm PST.
This mission was dedicated in tribute to John James “Jack” Stewart.
Launch photos: Spaceflightnow.com
The Atlas V NROL-35 paper model is available at: