SpaceX launches classified payload for US

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket sits on launch pad 39A just before its scheduled morning launch was cancelled due to a technical issue on April 30, 2017 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. NROL-76, the designation for the classified satellite launch, was SpaceX's first dedicated mission for the military.

Billionaire Elon Musk has battled for years to work with the United States military on space launches.

Few details have been released about NROL-76, a satellite designed, built and operated by the National Reconnaissance Office, a member of the U.S. intelligence community of an agency of the U.S. Department of Defense.

At the same time, the launch also broke a decade-old monopoly the United Launch Alliance, a collaboration between Boeing and Lockheed-Martin, had for launching US military and national security satellites. According to CNN, it's some kind of surveillance satellite that will be orbited in an unknown place-and that was the reason the cameras didn't follow it.

SpaceX, the aerospace company founded by Elon Musk, launched a Falcon 9 rocket from NASA's Kennedy Space Center Monday, breaking up the Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT)-Boeing (NYSE:BA) stronghold on US military contracts. SpaceX engineers watching the landing stream at the company's mission control center in Hawthorne, California started cheering and applauding when the rocket successfully landed and the engine shut down, creating an exciting moment. "Tough call, as high altitude wind shear was at 98.6% of the theoretical load limit". The planned launch will mark the fifth of almost two dozen launched scheduled to fly this year.

Last month, SpaceX flew its first recovered booster on a second mission, a key step in company founder Musk's quest to cut launch costs.

SpaceX has won two additional contracts from the U.S. Air Force to orbit satellites for its Global Positioning Satellite (GPS 3) program in 2018 and 2019.

Roughly nine minutes after lifting off, the rocket's first stage returned to Earth, a feat that SpaceX first accomplished in December 2015.

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