The bird on this patch for NROL-49 could be an eagle to represent the US, and the flames might stand for the fireball produced by the Delta IV Heavy rocket used for the January 2011 launch. The feathered form could also be a phoenix – there is speculation that this satellite took the place of another that was discontinued.
The Latin motto reads: “Better the devil you know.”
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Headquartered in Chantilly, Virginia, the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) develops and operates unique and innovative overhead reconnaissance systems and conducts intelligence-related activities for U.S. national Security.
A hybrid organization consisting of some 3000 personnel, the NRO is jointly staffed by members of the armed services, the Central Intelligence Agency, and DoD civilian personnel.
Little Else is Known or the NRO