Elon Musk's SpaceX launched a spy satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office on Monday morning, its first contracted work for the government, The Orlando Sentinel reports. The Falcon 9 rocket returned to its landing pad after putting the satellite in orbit.
Previously, the U.S. only had such contracts with United Launch Alliance. "From the government angle, they now have more than one launch provider," explained space historian Roger Launius. "That's important because if you lose one and have to stand down for whatever period of time, especially for national security payloads, you still have options."
SpaceX's original launch, scheduled for Sunday, was delayed due to a minor sensor issue.