by Jeff Cunningham
With a launch window beginning at 0700 EST, SpaceX is currently a “GO” to launch their first payload for the United States’ National Reconnaissance Office, hence the imaginatively named satellite “NROL-76.”
Little is known about the payload and its mission… because it’s by a spy agency. Chances are, SpaceX themselves likely don’t know anything much about it, either– like one of those “no questions asked” sort of jobs that the crew of Serenity find themselves needing to take from time to time.
What is known up to this point is that the “warm-up” test firing of the engines on Tuesday was a success:
Security clearance zones designated around the launch site suggest the payload will be placed into a high-inclination orbit. Of more interest to those of us watching from the ground– a landing of the first stage will be attempted less than ten minutes after liftoff at Cape Canaveral. For those keeping score, this will be only the third time they’ve tried this feat on land (with both of the prior times being successful).
Join us on Sunday morning to watch the live stream, which should begin approximately 20-30 minutes before liftoff.