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SpaceX Launches 'Spy' Satellite On A Secret Mission For The US Military

Elon Musk’s company shared incredible footage of the booster rocket landing.

01/05/2017 8:23 PM IST | Updated 01/05/2017 8:23 PM IST

SpaceX has launched its first satellite for the US military.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket took flight from Cape Canaveral, Florida, US, on Monday at 7:15 a.m ET (12.15pm GMT), carrying a secret payload for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).

No destination was specified for the US government satellite, known only as NROL-76, due to the secretive nature of the NRO.

The mission also wasn’t listed on Elon Musk’s space company’s online customer manifest.

Joe Raedle via Getty Images

The mission went off smoothly at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and about 10 minutes after the launch the booster rocket successfully landed on solid ground - the fourth time the company has managed this feat.

Liftoff

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Liftoff of NROL-76 from historic Launch Complex 39A.

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“And we have touchdown,” a SpaceX commentator said on a live webcast.

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

Close-up of rocket stage separation, fast flip, boostback burn in a ring of fire and then landing burn

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Landing

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The launch was livestreamed on YouTube (below). However, because of the “classified payload”, the footage did not follow the satellite after it disengaged with the booster.

Instead cameras filmed a continuous shot of the Falcon 9 returning to Earth.

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