SpaceX launches Falcon 9 on secret, classified mission

13 May, 2017, 02:15 | Author: Archie Newman

Cheers erupted from SpaceX mission control as one of its Falcon 9 rockets - carrying a classified payload known only as NROL-76 - successfully launched from Cape Canaveral in the U.S. state of Florida on Monday.

Elon Musk's SpaceX has launched a top-secret spy satellite for the USA government. In so doing, it fulfilled a contract with the US National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) to launch a spy satellite.

SpaceX typically broadcasts entire missions online, but this time the company shut off footage of the launch just after the first-stage booster separated from the upper stage of the rocket.

According to The Verge, the rocket was given a window from 7:15 a.m. until 9 a.m.to launch.

It will be SpaceX's first launch for the NRO.

No destination was specified for the United States government satellite, known only as NROL-76, due to the secretive nature of the NRO.

SpaceX received certification to launch satellites for the U.S. Air Force in 2015. SpaceX pulled the lawsuit after a settlement with the military, which said it would make future contracts available to other companies. This would mark the beginning of SpaceX to become one of the major launch service provider to the Department of Defense.

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Musk is also the founder and CEO of Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA).

Five minutes after the launch, SpaceX landed the first stage of the rocket at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Landing Zone 1, officials said.

Why are we left assuming that the mission was an overall success?

One camera even caught the first stage of the Falcon 9 as it made its flip in the air to come back for a landing after sending the secret spy satellite on its way.

The privately-owned firm regularly launches unmanned cargo ships to the International Space Station, and is working on a crew capsule that could carry humans into orbit as early as next year.

We also got two shots of the rocket coming back to Earth the whole way down. Last month, the company successfully launched a previously used rocket.

Destination Space and SpaceX nails the launch and sticks the landing on Monday on the Space Coast. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk noted in a tweet that high-altitude winds during Monday's launch nearly exceeded the rocket's capability. "Tough call, as high altitude wind shear was at 98.6 per cent of the theoretical load limit".

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