Elon Musk's SpaceX today launched the Falcon 9 rocket, which has now safely landed back home to Earth.
Coverage then switched to the returning 14-story first stage booster, which attained an altitude more than 100 miles (166 km) above the Atlantic Ocean before starting its descent.
SpaceX has now published fascinating images of the launch and landing.
The launch was postponed from its original date on Sunday, April 30, due to problems with a sensor on the first stage booster.
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Elon Musk's SpaceX has launched a top-secret spy satellite for the USA military and also made history by successfully landing the booster for recycling. Landing, refurbishing and reusing rockets is key to the company's vision of making space travel increasingly affordable. Sonic booms rattled the area, serving as a Monday morning wake-up call.
The classified satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) is also significant as it was able to cut United Launch Alliance's 10-year monopoly on USA military and national security satellite launches. This signalled the first time SpaceX has carried a major national security related payload to orbit since it was granted permission to do so in 2015. The company's "satellite manufacturing cost profile and in-house launch capability" will allow it to continually update the system's technology to meet changing customer needs, Cooper said. So a launch means the nation.There should be a certification process to account the previously flown hardware adequately.
Few details have been released about NROL-76, a satellite designed, built and operated by the National Reconnaissance Office, a member of the U.S. intelligence community of an agency of the U.S. Department of Defense.
The privately owned firm, based in Hawthorne, California, has a backlog of more than 70 missions, worth about $10 billion.