SpaceX launches classified US spy satellite, sticks rocket landing to cap record year | Space

That’s launch number 26 for SpaceX, its most ever in a year.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX launched a clandestine U.S. spy  satellite into space for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO)  Saturday (Dec. 19) , marking its 26th rocket of the year.

The mysterious payload, called NROL-108, lifted off from Pad 39A here at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center at  9 a.m. (1400 GMT) , during a planned three hour launch window.

A used two-stage Falcon 9 rocket carried the spy satellite aloft, as part of a government mission called NROL-108, marking SpaceX’s 26th launch of 2020, a new record for the company. Approximately nine minutes after liftoff, the booster’s first stage produced some dramatic sonic booms as it made its way back to terra firma, touching down at SpaceX’s Landing Zone-1 (LZ-1) at the nearby Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

Video: Watch SpaceX’s epic NROL-108 Falcon 9 rocket landing
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See the evolution of SpaceX’s rockets in pictures

Source: SpaceX launches classified US spy satellite, sticks rocket landing to cap record year | Space