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  1. ITV Report

US spy satellite launched into space by Elon Musk's SpaceX

A Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket carrying a classified satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office. Credit: AP Photo/John Raoux

A spy satellite has been launched into space by billionaire Elon Musk's Space X company.

The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Florida on Monday carrying the company's first satellite for the US military.

The 23-story tall rocket launched from the Kennedy Space Center at 7.15am (local time) and landed again nine minutes later after propelling the satellite into orbit.

The spy satellite will be used by the US National Reconnaissance Office, an agency within the Defense Department that operates the nation's spy satellites.

Nine minutes after takeoff, the rocket's main section touched down on a landing pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, just south of NASA's spaceport.

Billionaire Elon Musk has battled for years to work with the US military on space launches. Credit: AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu, File

Last month, Space Exploration Technologies Corp flew its first recovered booster on a second mission, a key step in company founder Elon Musk's quest to cut launch costs.

For the past ten years the US military have carried out space launches with United Launch Alliance which is a partnership of Lockheed Martin and Boeing, a monopoly Musk has battled for years to break.

SpaceX sued the U.S. Air Force in 2014 over its exclusive multi-billion-dollar contract with United Launch Alliance.

The company later dropped the suit after the military agreed to open more launch contacts to competitive bidding.

SpaceX has since won two launch contracts from the Air Force to send up Global Positioning System satellites in 2018 and 2019.

Monday's launch was the 34th mission for SpaceX and the fifth of more than 20 flights planned for this year.