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SpaceX to launch secret spy mission today, land Falcon

11 May 2017

SpaceX hopes to try again Monday morning to launch a classified US intelligence mission from Kennedy Space Center, after a sensor problem scrubbed a first attempt Sunday.

The launch was pushed to Monday morning at Cape Canaveral, Florida - just 52 seconds before liftoff was set to occur.

The Falcon 9, according to the paper, will send one of its launch vehicles into space from the Space Coast and it will be carrying a spy satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office.

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Sometime next year, SpaceX is scheduled to deliver Global Positioning System satellites into orbit for the Air Force.

The attempt is part of SpaceX's effort to make rocket parts recyclable, rather than jettisoning the costly components after each launch. If Sunday's launch is postponed for any reason, another launch window opens on May 1.

SpaceX regularly launches unmanned cargo ships to the International Space Station, and is working on a crew capsule that could carry humans into orbit as early as next year. It was probably better for the rocket agency to play it safe and delay the launch than risk losing the payload on their first mission for the military.

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The Hawthorne space company last month successfully re-launched a previously used first stage to blast a commercial communications satellite into orbit, and then landed the booster on a floating sea platform. Tomorrow's launch will use a new rocket, however.

As this mission is being carried out for the NRO, SpaceX can't be very forthcoming with details on the satellite's final destination or what its true objective is.

A SpaceX rocket launch that will mark its first business with the Department of Defense will bring along with it an attempt at recovering the first-stage booster at the U.S. Air Force base.

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