SpaceX launches spy satellite for US military
Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) has successfully launched a spy satellite in support of the US military from a Falcon 9 rocket at Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Florida.
The launch was originally planned to take place on Sunday but had to be delayed by 24 hours due to an issue detected in a sensor on the rocket, according to media sources.
The faulty sensor was situated in the Temperature Ox Tank Outlet (TOTO) on the first stage of the Falcon 9, NASASpaceflight reported.
The rocket carrying a payload for the US National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) lifted off from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at KSC on 1 May.
NRO director Betty Sapp said: “Thanks to the SpaceX team for the great ride, and for the terrific teamwork and commitment they demonstrated throughout.
“They were an integral part of our government/industry team for this mission and proved themselves to be a great partner.”
The rocket landed back on Earth around nine minutes after the launch.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted: “Launch and landing of the NRO spy satellite were good.
“Tough call, as high altitude wind shear was at 98.6% of the theoretical load limit.”
The latest launch, NROL-76, is said to be the second of five launches scheduled for the NRO this year.
The next NRO launch is expected to be conducted on 14 August from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, US.