Hawthorne-based SpaceX launched a reconnaissance satellite into orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base on Sunday, April 17.
The launch on behalf of the National Reconnaissance Office was previously scheduled for 6:41 a.m. Friday, but was delayed twice over the weekend, once to provide more time for pre-launch checks and reviews of data and new Saturday due to excessive winds in the forecast.
“Today, the Western Range has partnered with the National Reconnaissance Office to deliver a critical national security payload that will provide our warfighters and decision makers with vital intelligence data,” Colonel Rob Long, commanding officer, said Sunday. of Space Launch Delta 30. “This is the NRO’s 20th launch from the Western Range since 1996 and I am proud of both the team today and the strong, long-standing partnership with the NRO . Go NROL-85!
The launch took place at 6:13 a.m.
NROL-85 is the first NRO mission to reuse a SpaceX rocket booster. NROL-87, launched two months earlier, was the first NRO launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket intended to be reused for a future mission.
After the SpaceX Falcon 9 launched, the first leg of the mission returned to land on Landing Zone 4 at Vandenberg Space Force Base.
Officials said Space Launch Delta 30’s primary responsibilities include maintaining and operating the Western line, protecting the public, ensuring the mission, and ensuring minimal environmental impact while providing services, facilities and range security control for the execution of defence, civil and commercial launches.
This follows last week’s historic launch for the South Bay rocket builder. SpaceX launched three wealthy businessmen and their escort of astronauts to the International Space Station last Friday for a stay of more than a week, as NASA joins Russia in welcoming guests to the tourist destination the most expensive in the world.
This is SpaceX’s first private charter flight to the orbiting lab after two years of ferrying astronauts for NASA.
An American, a Canadian and an Israeli who run investment, real estate and other companies arrived at the space station on Saturday. They pay $55 million each for the rocket flight and accommodation, all meals included.
Russia has welcomed tourists to the space station – and before that to the Mir station – for decades. Last fall, a Russian film crew flew in, followed by a Japanese fashion mogul and his assistant.
NASA is finally getting in on the act, after years of opposing visitors to the space station.
The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft carrying the crew will undock from the ISS at 7:35 a.m. PDT on Tuesday, April 19 to begin its return to Earth. Splashdown is scheduled for 4:19 a.m. Wednesday, April 20, off Florida.
The Associated Press and City News Service contributed to this report