A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is being readied for launch with a classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office early Sunday, the commercial launcher’s 33rd overall flight, and first dedicated to a U.S. government national security mission.
The two-stage rocket stood vertical on launch pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on Saturday evening as photographers set up remote cameras to document the liftoff.
The 229-foot-tall (70-meter) Falcon 9’s second stage will place the top secret payload into orbit, while the first stage booster will attempt to return to Landing Zone 1 at neighboring Cape Canaveral Air Force Station for refurbishment and potential reuse.
Email the author.
Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.