The US National Reconnaissance Office sent a classified payload on a previously used rocket for the first time.
Private aerospace firm SpaceX has successfully launched another US spy satellite into orbit, this time deploying a used Falcon 9 rocket to carry its payload into space.
Sunday’s mission from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California marked the first time that a US National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) satellite has been carried into orbit on a used rocket. The same Falcon 9 was used to launch an NRO satellite in February.
“All launches are exciting, but this one, with our first-ever reuse of a booster, is a striking indication of how NRO is building innovation and resiliency into everything we do,” said Colonel Chad Davis, director of NRO’s Office of Space Launch. “Reusing the booster shows we are continuing to push the boundaries of what’s possible while delivering greater value.”
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) April 17, 2022
SpaceX, founded by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, first proved its ability to reuse a rocket in 2017. Since then, it has deployed used boosters dozens of times, delivering on Musk’s strategy of driving down costs by building gear that can be used more than once.