On Friday afternoon, United Launch Alliance will once again attempt to launch a Delta IV rocket from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The launch was scrubbed Wednesday due to ambiguous technical issues.
Since the mission — NROL-47 — is on behalf of the National Reconnaissance Office, it’s classified. In other words, we have no idea what the hell its end goal is.
What’s perhaps even stranger than the mission itself is its official patch, which isn’t giving away any obvious clues as to what the payload could be, unless it’s some sort of mythical beast that the government wants to send into space.
“Mali Nunquam Praevalebunt,” the patch, brandishing a knight and dragon, reads. The phrase is Latin for “evil will never prevail.”
As The Verge points out, the NRO has created some seriously bizarre patches for its past missions, featuring giant octopuses, titans, and suuuuuper spppppoooooooky snakes.
This latest patch is, once again, a pretty strange pick for the agency, which “conducts intelligence-related activities for U.S. national security,” according to its Facebook. It is not, as it would have you believe, a group of vigilante knights rocketing themselves into space to fight dragons.
Still, we won’t begrudge anyone the opportunity to have a little fun. You can tune in on United Launch Alliance’s YouTube stream here to check out the launch, starting at 12:40 p.m. Pacific. Liftoff is expected at 1:00 p.m. Pacific.