SpaceX postpones classified US military launch

A Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket carrying a classified satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office lifts off from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Monday, May 1, 2017.

SpaceX 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.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has called the payload a spy satellite which implies a function for defense-intelligence purposes.

Few details have been released about NROL-76, a satellite designed, built and operated by the National Reconnaissance Office under the Department of Defence.

After the launch, SpaceX landed the first stage booster at Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Monday's launch is the first for SpaceX since the historic SES-10 mission last month.

SpaceX also successfully accomplished one of its defining features by landing the stage-one booster rocket back to earth.

The first stage shut down and decoupled from the payload about two minutes into the launch, and that's the last we saw of the secretive satellite. Boeing and Lockheed Martin's United Launch Alliance previously held a lock on that business, and Musk filed a lawsuit against the government in 2014 for the right to bid for military contracts. This was a landmark event for the company, as it was the first launch of a military satellite in its 15-year history.

Falcon 9 booster lands after NROL 76 launch.

Though SpaceX sees rapid, reusable rockets as the key to driving down launch costs and opening up access to space, the Air Force is still exploring how the certification process will need to be adapted to use pre-flown hardware.

Get your jolly flags out, SpaceX has done it again.

SpaceX has been making progress on its mission to make space travel less expensive by recycling rockets.

SpaceX announced on February 27 they intend to transport the first two private citizens on a trip to the moon - and back - sometime in 2018.



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