SpaceX films the takeoff of a spy satellite with a drone

In a video filmed by a drone, SpaceX captured the almost simultaneous takeoff and landing of two Falcon 9 rockets. The result is stunning.

NROL-87 © SpaceX

In drone video, SpaceX captured the launch of the classified satellite NROL-87, for the National Reconnaissance Office, one of the 17 United States intelligence agencies. The mission lifted off on a Falcon 9 rocket Wednesday, February 2, from Space Launch Complex 4 East at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The video then cuts to the landing of the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket, which happened about 8 minutes after launch.

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Falcon 9 deployed US spy satellite NROL-87

The view of the first video is incredible: thanks to the drone camera hovering nearby, we see the brand new Falcon 9 rocket 70 meters high rumble on its pad, under the power of its nine Merlin engines. The rocket then rises into a blue sky, with a bright sun.

Falcon 9 rocket actually launched into orbit NROL-87 spy satellite on behalf of US Space Force Command. ” The NROL-87 satellite was designed, built and operated by the NRO as part of its space reconnaissance mission “indicated, without further details, the military intelligence agency, citing defense secrecy.

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The video then switches to landing of the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket. Two sonic booms can be heard as the booster, covered in soot, arrives at SpaceX’s landing zone 4 in Vandenberg.

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets, like the company’s Falcon Heavys and new Starships, are designed to be reusable to reduce the cost of spaceflight. Wednesday’s NROL-87 launch was the second of three Falcon 9 launches that week by SpaceX, and Elon Musk has scheduled a new presentation of SpaceX’s Starship rocket next week.

The full 24-minute video can be found below and the video filmed by drone on the Space.com site.

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