SpaceX Successfully Launches Its First Spy Satellite To Space

Nettie James
May 11, 2017

The 230-foot Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 7:15 a.m.

The Falcon 9 rocket was actually used to send a top-secret USA government spy satellite into space.

Liftoff, which was scheduled for Sunday morning, is now slated for Monday at 7 a.m. ET from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

SpaceX rocket yesterday blasted off with a USA government payload known only as NROL-76, marking the first military launch for the California-based aerospace company headed by billionaire Elon Musk.

The launch will be the first time SpaceX is doing business with the U.S. Department of Defense, which has previously worked exclusively with United Launch Alliance, a SpaceX competitor.

Since being certified in 2015 to launch national security satellites, SpaceX has won two contracts to launch Global Positioning System satellites for the U.S. Air Force.

Today's launch is the 34th mission for SpaceX and the fifth of more than 20 flights planned for this year.

The NRO simply said it conducts surveillance to detect potential threats to the United States by keeping track of terrorist activity and monitoring other countries' nuclear weapons development.

"The NROL-76 launch will not be targeting a sun-synchronous orbit, typically used by the NRO's optical imaging satellites". The landing, however, was just about as ideal as SpaceX could want, with the Falcon 9 rocket landing safely back on Earth.

The payload, referred to as NROL-76, is classified. It also successfully recovered Falcon 9 first stages from six missions at sea using the company's drone ships.

About seven minutes after liftoff, the first-stage rocket booster separated from the upper stage and fired up its engines again so it could safely cut back through the Earth's atmosphere. And since receiving its certification, SpaceX has won two contracts from the Air Force that have been publicly put up for bid.

SpaceX strives to return most of its boosters for reuse.

Other reports by Insurance News

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