Working overnight on Florida’s Space Coast, SpaceX technicians transferred a two-stage Falcon 9 rocket from the company’s commercial hangar a quarter-mile up the ramp to launch pad 39A early Saturday, positioning the kerosene-fueled booster for liftoff Sunday with a classified payload for the U.S. government’s National Reconnaissance Office.
A commercial Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to launch at 7 a.m. EDT (1100 GMT) Sunday with a classified payload designed, built and operated by the National Reconnaissance Office, the U.S. government’s spy satellite agency. The Sunday morning blastoff from Florida will be SpaceX’s first dedicated national security mission.
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket took off from launch pad 39A, a historic facility under lease from NASA, and delivered to orbit an uncrewed supply ship heading for the International Space Station. The first stage booster returned to a landing at nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, the first such recovery on land in daylight.