SpaceX launches US spy satellite, lands rocket in flawless Easter flight

Read more on this subject: Space Travel and Exploration
News Story Source:, By Mike Wall
SpaceX launched a clandestine spy satellite for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) and landed the returning rocket back on Earth today (April 17), acing a spaceflight twofer on Easter.

A two-stage Falcon 9 rocket carrying the NROL-85 spacecraft lifted off from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California today at 9:13 a.m. EDT (1313 GMT; 6:13 a.m. local California time)

The SpaceX rocket's two stages separated about 2.5 minutes later. The first stage headed back to Earth, making a vertical touchdown at Vandenberg's Landing Zone 4 roughly eight minutes after launch in what may be the ultimate bunny hop on the Easter Sunday holiday. SpaceX ended its live webcast of the launch just after the Falcon 9 landing at the NRO's request due to the mission's classified nature.

This was the second landing for this particular booster, which also helped to loft the NROL-87 spacecraft, another NRO spy satellite, from Vandenberg on Feb. 2,&
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