Space X will launch its first dedicated classified mission for the US National Reconnaisance Office (NRO) on Sunday at 7 A.M. Space X's Falcon 9 rocket will deliver the spy satellite NROL-76, to orbit from the historic launch complex 39 A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The rocket is slated to lift off between 7 and 9 a.m. EDT (1100 to 1300 GMT) from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. About 10 minutes after launch, the tall portion of the rocket, known as the first stage, will power its engines and fly back toward Earth to make a controlled landing on solid ground at SpaceX's Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral.
Space X is trying to make rocket parts cyclable, instead of jettisoning the costly components after each launch. Space X, headed by internet entrepreneur Elon Musk has struggled for years to win the rights to compete for the military's launch business.
It ultimately sued the Air Force, its prospective customer, and broke United Launch Alliance's 10-year monopoly on launching U.S. military and national security satellites SpaceX has also won two launch contracts from the Air Force to put GPS-3 satellites into orbit. SpaceX also has a pair of launch contracts coming up for the Air Force to send GPS satellites into orbit.