This was the fourth SpaceX booster landing at Cape Canaveral; even more have landed on ocean platforms.
The unmanned Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from its NASA-leased pad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Long-range tracking cameras followed the 14-story first-stage booster's journey back to Earth.
Despite its confidentiality, Elon Musk's SpaceX continues to explore new frontiers with its rockets. The military spy satellite was successfully launched into the orbit, and SpaceX marked their tenth successful landing.
The second try, however, almost didn't happen: According to a tweet from Musk, the wind shear was "at 98.6% of the theoretical load limit".
Hazard notices sent to pilots and sailors in advance of the launch hinted the satellite's destination as a high-inclination orbit, which would carry it over most of the world's populated areas.
SpaceX plans to start launching the completed satellites starting in 2019, and through 2024, on its Falcon 9 rocket, according to Cooper.
So far, everything looks like a "go", and this happy customer recently announced their satellite's arrival at SpaceX's facility for launch prep (excitedly, I might add). Other companies are also considering large satellite launches, raising concerns about potential collisions and a worsening "space junk problem", an MIT Technology Review article noted last month. So a launch means the nation.There should be a certification process to account the previously flown hardware adequately.
The mission - for the U.S. military's National Reconnaissance Office - blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 7.15am local time. Across the country, cheers erupted at SpaceX Mission Control at company headquarters in Hawthorne, California.