SpaceX regains spy satellite's booster

However, there is no detail available on the newly launched NRO satellite. The company could also retrieve the first stage by landing it on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.

First stage booster lands vertically on concrete pad.

The rocket landed back on Earth around nine minutes after the launch. A single Merlin powerplant on the upper stage then ignited and throttled up to full thrust to propel the mission's payload - said to be a reconnaissance satellite - into orbit.

This was reportedly the first mission SpaceX took on for the U.S. military, which makes access to any other information about the secret spy satellite mission, dubbed NROL-76, close to nil. Interestingly, SpaceX emphasised on its webcast on the successful touchdown of the first-stage booster.

SpaceX on Monday blasted off a secretive United States government satellite, known only as NROL-76, marking the first military launch for the California-based aerospace company headed by billionaire tycoon Elon Musk.

For years, the market for launching US military payloads was dominated by the United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Boeing.

NY [U.S.A], May 1: American aerospace manufacturer SpaceX on Monday launched a top secret spy satellite for a U.S Government towards orbit. Landing, refurbishing and reusing rockets is key to the company's vision of making space travel increasingly affordable. It is the first military launch for the California-based aerospace company.

These satellites are not insured privately like other commercial satellites. Unlike commercial flights, NRO launches often feature broadcasts that are cut short in order to keep the confidentiality of where the satellite is going or what its goal is. Elon Musk is the head of this launch.

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