Science

SpaceX all set to launch first military satellite

SpaceX all set to launch first military satellite

While the details on most of SpaceX's missions are very public, this one was purposely shrouded in mystery: The rocket was ferrying up a spy satellite, the NROL-76, for National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).

SpaceX is the brain child of Founder of Tesla, Elon Musk who announced himself on Twitter that both the launch and landing were good.

"Tough call, as high altitude wind shear was at 98.6 percent of the theoretical load limit", he said in a tweet.

This launch marks SpaceX's first for the Department of Defense (DOD) after the U.S. Air Force certified the Falcon 9 to launch satellites for national security purposes in 2015.

The launch was initially planned for Sunday, but it was postponed in the last seconds before lift-off because of a sensor issue with the rocket, SpaceX said.




SpaceX previously landed a first stage booster at Landing Zone 1 three times.

SpaceX wants to become a major launch service provider to the DoD, which intends to launch up to 13 more military satellite in the next few years.

Musk believes reusable rockets are the key to drastically cutting launch costs, eventually making it possible to fulfill his vision of colonizing Mars.

That information, combined with knowledge of the Falcon 9 rocket's performance and trajectory, prompted amateur satellite observers experienced in tracking NRO missions to speculate that the mission might be an imaging satellite, bound for a low-Earth orbit inclined 50 to 60 degrees relative to the equator. Falcon 9's simple two-stage configuration minimizes the number of separation events - and with nine first stage engines, it can safely complete its mission even in the event of an engine shutdown. SpaceX pulled the lawsuit after a settlement with the military, which said it would make future contracts available to other companies.


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