National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) on a classified national security mission. The launch had been originally scheduled for Thursday (December 17) but was aborted due to irregular pressure readings.
At the request of the NRO, SpaceX did not show the satellite's positioning, but it did broadcast a successful launch, separation and landing of Falcon 9.
The rocket's first stage booster had previously been used in the launch of two SpaceX cargo resupply missions to the International Space Station and a Starlink mission.
SpaceX says that Falcon 9 "is the world's first orbital class reusable rocket."
- 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0. Ignition and liftoff.
- [INAUDIBLE] is catching downrange.
- [INAUDIBLE] chamber pressures are nominal.
- Falcon 9 is currently throttling down to prepare for max q at T-plus 1 minute and 12 seconds.
- Maximum aerodynamic pressure.
- Stage separation confirmed.
- Main engine cut-off.
- Entry burn startup.
- And you can see on screen three Merlin engines have re-lit and are currently slowing the stage down.
- Stage one landing leg deploy.
- Stage two start of terminal guidance.
- And Falcon 9 does it again. That's five times for this booster, and the 70th successful recovery of a Falcon 9 to date.