SpaceX makes first US military launch, then lands rocket again

The payload for the National Reconnaissance Office, which makes and operates spy satellites for the United States, soared into the sky atop a Falcon 9 rocket at 7:15 am (1115 GMT).

SpaceX makes first US military launch, then lands rocket again

World Bulletin / News Desk

SpaceX on Monday blasted off a secretive US government payload, known only as NROL-76, marking the first military launch for the California-based aerospace company headed by billionaire tycoon Elon Musk.

About 10 minutes after launch, the scorched first stage of the rocket came back to Earth and landed upright at Cape Canaveral, marking the fourth successful solid ground landing for SpaceX.

"And we have touchdown," a SpaceX commentator said on the live webcast of the event as cheers broke out at mission control.

"The first stage has landed back at Landing Zone 1. Another good day for us at SpaceX. A beautiful sight to see."

Live video of the launch showed the first and second stages of the rocket separating about two and a half minutes into the flight.

The larger, first stage, made a gentle arc and powered its nitrogen thrusters to guide it back to Earth.

The rocket then set itself down, gently and steadily, in the center of the 300-foot (91-meter) circular landing zone.

Musk is leading an effort in the rocket industry to re-use costly parts rather than jettison them into the ocean after each launch.

SpaceX has already made multiple successful landings, some on floating platforms -- known as drone ships -- in the ocean.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 01 Mayıs 2017, 14:45
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