In Photos: SpaceX's 1st Secret US Military Satellite Launch (& Landing)

Launch Telemetry

SpaceX

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket launched the NROL-76 satellite from Pad-39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center on Monday, May 1, at 7:15 a.m. EDT (1115 GMT). The launch was smooth with cameras capturing amazing views of the ultimate rocket landing. Read our full launch wrap story here.

SpaceX static fire test

SpaceX/Twitter

SpaceX completed a static fire test of its Falcon 9 rocket April 25 in advance of NROL-76's launch April 30 — the company's first classified U.S. mission. The launch was delayed one day to May 1. Read our full launch wrap story here.

NROL-76 Spy Satellite Moved to Launch Pad

U.S. National Reconnaissance Office

The U.S. National Reconnaissance Office's classified NROL-76 spy satellite, shrouded in its protective payload fairing, is moved to the launch pad to be connected to its SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket ahead of a May 1 launch from Pad 39-A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

NROL-76 mission patch

SpaceX

SpaceX's official NROL-76 mission patch. Read our full launch wrap story here.

NRO mission patch

The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) tweeted this mission patch for its NROL-76 satellite, showing Lewis and Clark setting out to explore the Louisiana Territory. Read our full launch wrap story here.

SpaceX Falcon 9 with NROL-76 for May 1 Launch

SpaceX

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the classified NROL-76 satellite for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office stands atop the historic Launch Pad 39-A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida ahead of a May 1, 2017 launch. Read our full launch wrap story here.

SpaceX Falcon 9 with NROL-76 at Pad

SpaceX

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the classified NROL-76 spy satellite for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office stands atop Launch Pad 39-A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center ahead of a planned May 1, 2017 liftoff. Read our full launch wrap story here.

SpaceX Falcon 9 Before Dawn

SpaceX

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket carrying NROL-76 stands tall in the predawn darkness in this stunning view taken at Pad 39-A of NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida ahead of a May 1 launch. Read our full launch wrap story here.

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