Videos of SpaceX's rocket landing are like something out of science fiction

Tuesday, 02 May, 2017

SpaceX launched a spy satellite for the U.S. Department of Defense early Monday morning and then landed the first stage of its rocket back on solid ground. Instead of using a booster once and discarding it, SpaceX plans to use its rockets multiple times for many different missions, refurbishing them in between.

It's all part of the company's mission to drastically reduce the cost of space travel by using rockets a few times.

Sonic booms rattled the area as the 23-storey rocket blasted off.

The launch was SpaceX's fifth this year, continuing its rebound from a launch pad rocket explosion last summer that grounded the company for the last four months of 2016.

High altitude wind shear was also near the limit for Monday's launch, with Musk tweeting it was "98.6% of the theoretical load limit" but "not a showstopper".

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NEW YORK - SpaceX just launched a mysterious spy satellite toward orbit for a US intelligence agency. The company is believed to have launched a small satellite for the intelligence agency as a secondary payload during a December 2010 demonstration flight for NASA.

Being able to reuse first-stage rockets is one of SpaceX's stated priorities as it moves towards making commercial space more affordable.

The launch that planned on Monday is the first for SpaceX since the historic SES-10 mission. NROL-76, the designation for the classified satellite launch, was SpaceX's first dedicated mission for the military. Across the country, cheers erupted at SpaceX Mission Control at company headquarters in Hawthorne, California.

SpaceX's launch of a spy satellite aboard a Falcon 9 was postponed less than a minute before liftoff Sunday in Florida when the launch company detected an issue with a sensor on the rocket's first stage.

SpaceX received certification to launch satellites for the U.S. Air Force in 2015. ULA, run by Boeing and Lockheed Martin, has had a monopoly on military missions to space for years.