After a day long delay, the classified U.S. Military payload known as NROL-76 was launched this morning, not on a Delta IV or an Atlas V booster, but on a SpaceX Falcon 9!
It’s an incredibly standard launch from LC-39A, but being a military payload, the livestream of the event focused on liftoff and the booster landing, rather than the full flight as with previous launches – This is, of course, for secrecy.
The interesting thing about this livestream though is they used high end cameras and telescope systems to show the entire flight of the booster, from liftoff to its landing! Previously we didn’t have that kind of coverage, even though, of course, cameras track boosters their entire flights, but this was the first time to show such, since it returning to the launch site would make such interesting.
Now, this is the first military launch using SpaceX, and I’m not quite a fan of it – I feel this was simply due to SpaceX pumping out boosters at rates of about a launch a month right now, as opposed to the slightly slower production rates of United Launch Alliance, so it was a matter of available booster, need to launch at X time, more than anything else.
In any case, as I said above, a perfectly normal launch. There is no technical launch feed, at least that I can find, so, try to enjoy the god-awful “hosted” webcast below: