Check out SpaceX's latest launch photos and footage

04 May, 2017, 01:05 | Author: Delbert Rhodes
  • Falcon 9 rocket prepares for blast off today

The NROL-76 mission - SpaceX has also released photos of the landing on its Flickr page - is the fifth time Musk has launched and landed a Falcon 9 this year.

According to a report from Space.com, this mission is SpaceX's first flight with the Department of Defense.

The launch, of a classified United States "spy" satellite, was flawless although the process had been postponed from Sunday because of a problem with an on-board sensor. The first video shows a close-up of the rocket separating from the satellite, as well as what Musk calls a "fast flip", a "boostback burn in a ring of fire", and finally the engines burning to slow the rocket down for landing.

This is reportedly SpaceX's first national security mission, where it sent a spy satellite into the orbit for National Reconnaissance Office.

The Space-X officials say their team made a decision to halt the launch "out of an abundance of caution" after noticing an issue with a sensor on the first-stage rocket booster.

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That's right. There will (assumingly) be no first stage landing attempt after this launch. Other companies are also considering large satellite launches, raising concerns about potential collisions and a worsening "space junk problem", an MIT Technology Review article noted last month. It is a classified payload for NRO (National Reconnaissance Office).

The next NRO launch is expected to be conducted on 14 August from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, US.

SpaceX mentioned 2019 as a possible launch date in an application filed with the Federal Communications Commission in November and offered a more specific launch timeline today. NRO's next launch is scheduled for August 14 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

She said she did not know when the contract was awarded.

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