SpaceX successfully landed its Falcon 9 rocket on solid ground again, after launching the vehicle from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The vehicle’s first stage the 13-story core of the rocket that contains the main engines — touched down at the company’s landing pad called Landing Zone 1, located just off the coast of the Cape. It’s the fourth time SpaceX has landed one of its rockets on land, and the 10th time the company has successfully recovered a rocket post-launch. The company finally demonstrated that it was capable of re flying rockets that have flown to space before. The company launched a satellite for Luxembourg-based operator SES
Rocket took off at 2 May,17 ET, lofting a secret spy satellite dubbed NROL-76 for the National Reconnaissance Office. It’s the first mission that SpaceX has done for the US military, after receiving certification to launch satellites for the Air Force in 2015. Since this was a national security launch, not much is known about the purpose of today’s mission, or the satellite’s intended orbit. It was the 34th mission for SpaceX, but its first flight for the Department of Defense, a customer long-pursued by company founder Elon Musk. The privately owned SpaceX once sued the Air Force over its exclusive launch services contract with United Launch Alliance (ULA), a partnership of Lockheed-Martin and Boeing.