SpaceX hurled a secret cargo into space for the U.S. government’s spy satellite agency Saturday, the 30th rocket launch to fly into Earth orbit from pads on Florida’s Space Coast in 2020. The Falcon 9 flight broke an annual record for missions to reach orbit from the Florida spaceport that stood for 54 years.
SpaceX’s final Falcon 9 launch of the year carried a classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office, the U.S. government’s spy satellite agency. SpaceX aborted a launch attempt Thursday morning to assess a second stage sensor reading, but the Falcon 9 successfully lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center at 9 a.m. EST (1400 GMT) Saturday. The rocket’s stage landed back at Cape Canaveral eight minutes later.
SpaceX launched Argentina’s SAOCOM 1B radar observation satellite from Cape Canaveral at 7:18 p.m. EDT (2318 GMT) Sunday. A Falcon 9 rocket headed toward the south on a trajectory hugging the Florida East Coast on the first flight into polar orbit from Cape Canaveral since 1969, and the first stage booster returned to the spaceport for an onshore landing minutes after liftoff.