SpaceX launches, lands Falcon 9 rocket

USA TODAY - A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket successfully launched from Kennedy Space Center at 7:15 a.m. Monday with a classified U.S. intelligence mission, a day after a sensor problem scrubbed a first attempt. The first stage landed about nine minutes later at nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The 230-foot Falcon 9 rocket was carrying the National Reconnaissance Office's NROL-76 mission.

SpaceX confirmed payload fairing separated as planned.

After the launch on a northeastern trajectory, SpaceX successfully landed the rocket's first stage at "Landing Zone 1" at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, part of ongoing efforts to recover and reuse Falcon rockets.

The current mission is the company's first dedicated launch for the National Reconnaissance Office, the nation's "eyes and ears in space," and its fifth flight of 2017.

Follow James Dean on Twitter: @flatoday_jdean

Copyright 2017 USA TODAY


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