VANDENBERG SPACE FORCE BASE, California (AP) – A classified satellite for the US National Reconnaissance Office was launched into space from California on Sunday.
The NROL-85 satellite took off at 6:13 from Vandenberg Space Force Base aboard a two-stage SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
It was the first mission from the NGO to reuse a SpaceX rocket booster, Vandenberg said in a statement.
Falcon’s first leg flew back and landed at the coastal base northwest of Los Angeles.
The NGO only described the NROL-85 satellite as a “critical national security payload.”
Its launch was one of three awarded by the Air Force to SpaceX in 2019 for a total fixed price of $ 297 million.
The NGO is the government agency responsible for developing, building, launching, and maintaining U.S. satellites that provide intelligence data to senior politicians, the intelligence community, and the Department of Defense.