*Cough cough* spy satellite *cough cough.*
ON SUNDAY, APRIL 30, SpaceX will send up yet another satellite into orbit from its Kennedy Space Center launchpad. The payload? Nobody has any idea, other than the people who designed, built, or work with the thing. No one else knows what kind of satellite it is, what it’ll do, its orbit, who built it, any of that stuff. It’s all classified.
The payload belongs to the National Reconnaissance Office, a US agency that builds, launches, and operates spy satellites. This launch marks the first time SpaceX will send up a major payload for an intelligence agency, and the first time the NRO has used a launch provider that isn’t United Launch Alliance, the old industry standby. The intelligence community is conferring a stamp of approval of sorts on SpaceX.