Elon Musk’s rocket company aims to put a satellite called GovSat-1 into orbit to control NATO surveillance drones, among other top secret projects. Update: The launch has been delayed one day, until Jan. 31 at 4:25 ET, reportedly to replace a component in the rocket.
This is SpaceX’s second launch of 2018; SpaceX’s previous flight attempted to launch a classified satellite called Zuma, but it failed to separate from the rocket and enter orbit. Despite anonymous criticism, the US Air Force said SpaceX’s rocket performed as expected.
This mission will re-use a Falcon 9 rocket booster that last launched a satellite in May 2017. This time around, though, the booster will be discarded instead of returning for a landing:
While the Falcon 9 would be expected to have enough fuel to return for a landing after launching the four metric ton satellite toward its orbit, more than 35,000 kilometers above