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Space-X's Falcon 9 rocket with 10 satellites launches at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. on Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017. The two-stage rocket lifted off to place 10 satellites into orbit for Iridium Communications Inc. About nine minutes later, the first stage returned to Earth and landed successfully on a barge in the Pacific Ocean south of Vandenberg. (Matt Hartman via AP)

SpaceX successfully launched a spy satellite for the Department of Defense


UPDATE 8:06 a.m. EST:

SpaceX successfully launched and landed a Falcon 9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Center Monday. The rocket carried a mysterious satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office. 

After the launch, SpaceX successfully landed the rocket's first stage at "Landing Zone 1" at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The landing was part of an ongoing mission to recover and recycle used Falcon rockets. 

WATCH | SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket.

UPDATE May 1, 6:45 a.m. EST:

SpaceX is set to launch a Falcon 9 rocket Monday morning after it was forced to cancel the launch on Sunday due to a sensor issue.

The launch was rescheduled for 7:15 a.m. on Monday at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The rocket will be carrying a spy satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office, marking the first time SpaceX is doing business with the U.S. Department of Defense, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

ORIGINAL STORY: Roughly a month after Elon Musk's SpaceX launched a successful used rocket into orbit, the company hopes to deliver a mysterious satellite into the atmosphere on Sunday to assist the intelligence community, CNN reported.

The satellite will launch 7 a.m. EST from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Specifically, the launch is to assist the National Reconnaissance Office--a U.S. government agency that develops and maintains spy satellite.

According to the NRO, the agency is responsible for surveying potential threats to the U.S. by tracking terrorists and monitoring the development of nuclear capabilities in other countries. It can also predict potential missile strike.

The payload--or the exact details of the satellite-- remain classified, though, many are referring to the structure as NROL-76. Due to the nature of the mission, SpaceX provided no details on what type of surveillance will be conducted, how large it is, or where in orbit it will be delivered.

Don't expect Sunday's launch to be the last time you hear of SpaceX's role in intelligence gathering. Sometime next year, the company is expected to deliver GPS satellites into orbit for the Air Force. 

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