SpaceX successfully launches the Falcon 9 mission from Vandenberg on Sunday morning

VANDENBERG, Calif. — Vandenberg Space Force Base announced news of the successful launch of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 National Reconnaissance Office mission (NROL-85) at 6:13 a.m. Sunday morning.

Vandenberg said NROL-85 was the first NRO mission to reuse a SpaceX rocket booster, and it was the second national security space launch Falcon 9 launch since Vandenberg.

After the SpaceX Falcon 9 launched, Vandenberg said the first stage of the mission returned to land on Landing Zone 4 at Vandenberg Space Force Base.

“Today, the Western Range has partnered with the National Reconnaissance Office to deliver a critical national security payload that will provide our warfighters and decision makers with vital intelligence data,” said Colonel Rob Long, commander of Space Launch Delta 30. “This is NRO’s 20th launch from the Western Range since 1996 and I am proud of both the team today and the strong, longstanding partnership with the NRO. Go NROL-85!”

Colonel Robert Bongiovi, Director of Space Systems Command Launch Enterprise, said: “We launched our second SpaceX Falcon 9 national security space launch from Vandenberg Space Force Base and it was stunning. The integrated team, the rocket, the satellite, everything was GO and this launch went well.”

“With each launch, we add to the capabilities of the nation. Putting capabilities into space is what we do, and together we put in place the tools necessary to meet the threat,” Colonel Bongiovi said. “And we’ve built fantastic partnerships with industry and teammates like the NRO to effectively deliver these systems to orbit.”

The US Space Force’s Space Systems Command said it partnered with SpaceX and the National Reconnaissance Office to make the launch happen.

“We achieved this success by working together, ensuring that every facet of this mission was carefully planned and carefully accomplished,” said Dr. Walt Lauderdale, SSC’s Launch Enterprise Falcon division chief. “The NRO, SpaceX and the 30 of Space Systems Commandand Space Launch Delta and Launch Enterprise remained mission-focused and placed critical national capabilities into orbit to meet our nation’s needs. Go on top!”

Sunday’s mission was originally to be launched on Friday morning, but then postponed to Saturday, and finally launched on Sunday morning when the conditions were finally right.

For previous News Channel 3-12 coverage of this event, click here.