SpaceX Successfully Launches US Spy Satellite

May 13, 2017, 02:20
SpaceX Successfully Launches US Spy Satellite

A SpaceX Falcon rocket lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center on Monday to boost a classified spy satellite into orbit for the United States military then turned around and touched down at a nearby landing pad. But Monday's launch, at 4:15 a.m.

CEO Elon Musk said the upper-level wind at lift-off was "unusually high" but added the "launch and landing of the NRO spy satellite was good".

And less than 10 minutes after the launch, SpaceX remotely controlled the first stage booster using thrusters, grid fins and landing legs, to land the rocket at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The operation went smoothly on Monday, marking SpaceX's first flight for the U.S. Department of Defense.

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NEW YORK - SpaceX just launched a mysterious spy satellite toward orbit for a US intelligence agency. Since this was a national security launch, not much is known about the objective of Monday's mission, or the satellite's intended orbit. SpaceX engineers watching the landing stream at the company's mission control center in Hawthorne, California started cheering and applauding when the rocket successfully landed and the engine shut down, creating an exciting moment. Apparently the wind shear "was at 98.6% of the theoretical load limit".

Following stage separation, Falcon 9's first stage will attempt to land at SpaceX's Landing Zone 1 (LZ-1) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

SpaceX has already successfully landed multiple rockets on sea platforms and aims to reuse them to cut launch costs. The satellite was launched to enhance the spying capabilities.

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The larger portion of the rocket, known as the first stage, made a gentle arc and powered its nitrogen thrusters to guide it back to Earth.

SpaceX to was selected to launch NROL-76 'after a competition, ' said the NRO spokeswoman. SpaceX once sued the USAF in federal court for the right to compete for national security missions, but now says it understands the decision in this particular case. As the first rocket completely developed in the 21st century, Falcon 9 was designed from the beginning for maximum reliability. Last month, SpaceX made huge strides toward that feat by putting a used rocket back into action.

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