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.
SpaceX launched a classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office on Monday after a first stage sensor problem halted a countdown Sunday. Liftoff from launch pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida occurred at 7:15 a.m. EDT (1115 GMT), and the first stage landed at nearby Cape Canaveral around nine minutes later. The upper stage’s flight entered a pre-planned news blackout a few minutes after launch.
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.