First US spy satellite sent into orbit by commercial agency

SpaceX sent a 230-foot Falcon 9 rocket on a classified National Reconnaissance Office mission into orbit over the Atlantic Ocean Monday from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The rocket’s first stage was brought home to land. This was the first time in US military history that a commercial company had boosted a secret US military satellite into orbit. It was also the first time that the first stage of a two-stage satellite was brought back to earth for a possible second launch. “Launch and landing of the NRO spy satellite was good,” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said: “Tough call, as high altitude wind shear was at 98.6% of the theoretical load limit.”

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