SpaceX launches first spy satellite for U.S. military

After a literal last-minute cancellation earlier this week, SpaceX successfully launched and landed a Falcon 9 rocket last night in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

It was another successful launch for the Elon Musk-led company as it tries to show it can be a reliable launch provider for government and commercial payloads.

The launch was supposed to have taken place on 30th April but has to be stopped at the last minute due to a bad sensor.

SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk said via Twitter that both the launch and landing were good.

The payload, dubbed NROL-76, remains classified and SpaceX offered no information regarding the type of surveillance the spy satellite will perform, how large it is, or where exactly in orbit it's located.

SpaceX has since won two launch contracts from the Air Force to send up Global Positioning System satellites in 2018 and 2019.

SpaceX is usually hyped to tell us all about the payload it's sending to orbit, but this time it doesn't have as much to say.


Destination Space and SpaceX nails the launch and sticks the landing on Monday on the Space Coast. SpaceX will attempt to land the rocket's first stage on a landing pad back at Cape Canaveral.

The operation marked SpaceX's 34th mission in total and its fifth one this year, but the first one for the Defense Department.

'The first stage has landed back at Landing Zone 1.

Due to the nature of the launch, neither the goal of the mission nor the length of the satellite's orbit or final destination have been disclosed. Across the country, cheers erupted at SpaceX Mission Control at company headquarters in Hawthorne, California. It marked the company's first launch since a Falcon 9 rocket exploded at Cape Canaveral, Florida, in September.

Billionaire Musk managed to win the contract instead of the United Launch Alliance - a partnership between Boeing and Lockheed Martin that previously had a monopoly.

A secondary leg of the mission is to return the two-stage Falcon 9's booster to Earth for reuse.

But, SpaceX then filed a lawsuit against the U.S Air Force saying that it unfairly awarded staggering sums of money to a single aviation company for its national security launches.

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