A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket has launched a military reconnaissance satellite in its first-ever mission for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office.
The Falcon 9 lifted off at 7:15 a.m. May 1 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The rocket’s reusable first stage was successfully returned to a base landing pad about 10 minutes after lift-off.
“It’s another good day at SpaceX,” enthused a commentator, narrating a video of the booster landing to the sound of cheers from employees watching the images on a screen at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif.
As customary in NRO launches, there was no indication of when the spy sat reached orbit. Post-launch details are kept classified in such missions.
SpaceX had been set to launch the NRO satellite a day earlier, until a last-minute issue arose with a first-stage sensor, prompting a scrub “in an abundance of caution.”
SpaceX rival United Launch Alliance has launched three reconnaissance satellites for the NRO this year.