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NASA Science

SpaceX Successfully Launches Its First Spy Satellite ( 65

SpaceX successfully launched NROL-76, a classified U.S. intelligence mission, from NASA's Kennedy Space Center Monday. Sunday's launch attempt was scrubbed due to a sensor issue. From a report: Not much is known about the National Reconnaissance Office's NROL-76 satellite, a classified payload, which will liftoff into low Earth orbit from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
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SpaceX Successfully Launches Its First Spy Satellite

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  • Song 2
  • Seriously, Bruno continues to run ula like another MBA running Sears. Not a brain in him. He brings in more management while laying off engineers. Sad.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 01, 2017 @10:29AM (#54333161)

      You mightn't be aware, but ULA has been aggressively driving down the launch costs on the Atlas V. It's still not as cheap as Falcon 9, but it is a lot cheaper than it was a few years ago. Atlas V also has a much better reliability track record than F9 does and has fewer launch delays, which is worth something to the people with very expensive satellites.

      They are also working on a new rocket named Vulcan to reduce costs even further. There is only so much they can do however because their profits are fed back into the 2 companies that own ULA, instead of being purely spent on R&D for their own improvement. They are making profit for the companies that own them, effectively trying to swim with an anchor around their neck.

      • As with anything else, launch costs are driven down by free application of technology in a competitive market, not by whoever happens to be ahead at the moment.

      • Re: Good luck to ula (Score:4, Interesting)

        by oobayly ( 1056050 ) on Monday May 01, 2017 @11:21AM (#54333529)

        Atlas has a great record, but then it's the result of decades of experience and government contracts. SpaceX have under a decade of launch experience.

        And Boeing and Lockheed are really struggling due to the military being so careful about defence spending. Yeah, that business must be a real millstone...

      • no, I am VERY aware.
        Bruno cut the old upper management and now has brought in his cronies and pays them MORE. So, to pay for that, he is cutting engineers at a frightening rate.
        Those engineers are needed for ACE and other launch vehicles. In particular, capturing the engines from vulcan and then rebuilding a new rocket is just looney tunes.

        As to the safety record of Atlas V vs F9, that is true. The Atlas V has had 1 partial failure. The F9 has 1 partial and 1 failed launch, which is 1 more than Atl
  • by MrLogic17 ( 233498 ) on Monday May 01, 2017 @10:10AM (#54333067) Journal

    The 1st stage landed at LZ1 again. I believe this was a new booster on this launch (as opposed to a "flight proven" stage).

    These landing are becoming so routine that it's almost boring. Almost.

    Also,the live feed this time around showed a ground based view of the first stage from launch, to separation, to boost back burn, to landing. Some very long stretches of single shots. Clear weather made for a very interesting perspective!

    • Yes! The weather really worked out for a great view. Loved seeing the reentry burn from the ground perspective.
    • by oobayly ( 1056050 ) on Monday May 01, 2017 @10:22AM (#54333115)

      Yeah, watching the stage separate and seeing the RCS yaw it around for boostback was pretty cool.

      It's was interesting to see the vibration caused by the stage in the distance. You can understand why the cameras on the barge cut out on landing.

    • It is very impressive to be able to recover the 1st stage. Amazing engineering!
    • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

      I hope they continue the live views after they get all the bugs worked out.

      Back when all the networks dropped NASA because they had made it so boring streaming services didn't exist. Today anyone with a decent net connection can watch instead of just whatever the networks deem worthy to show us.

      So i'd think they will be able to maintain the same viewership numbers.

    • by EvilSS ( 557649 ) on Monday May 01, 2017 @10:34AM (#54333179)
      Here's the launch/landing video if anyone missed it live: []
  • I would say that's kind of stupid, but there are plenty of complacent, "nothing to hide" kind of people that don't care about privacy anyway.
    • spy satellites are only a problem if you go outdoors. So this affects 0 people on slashdot.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      You can't hide a space launch of a full sized satellite, and trying would just make people more curious about what's going on. On top of that satellites aren't exactly the most stealthy things either, your average backyard astronomer can spot/track them.

  • If SpaceX gets up to the launch cadence they want, I suspect the locals will start to get mad the sonic booms of landings... (listen here: [] or here: [])

  • by DarthVain ( 724186 ) on Monday May 01, 2017 @03:31PM (#54336035)

    OK I was going to write something funny and stupid, but when I looked up the Wiki page for some additional information I found something much more interesting. They make a launch patch seemingly for every single launch, of which there have been a lot! Some are hilarious, others sort of menacingly inappropriate, others just cool artwork. Honestly some of them could be a bit more ambiguous if they are supposed to be "classified" spy satellites... I mean when your patch is a sailing ship with an angry looking eye over top, I mean people can guess the purpose... Also did they all go to evil art school? Apparently not all of them, because some look like they were designed by a 10 year old and MS paint. Interesting to look at anyway! []

The absent ones are always at fault.