Tuesday, 16 January, 2018

SpaceX to launch top-secret Zuma Sunday

If all goes according to plan the Falcon Heavy will lift off and enter orbit before two of its booster rockets separate and return to Earth at Cape Canaveral in controlled landings. The centre core of the rocket will then separate from the main module SpaceX kicks off 2018 with launch of mysterious Zuma mission, Falcon landing
Eleanor Moreno | 08 January, 2018, 04:35

SpaceX will attempt to launch a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station tonight.

The Falcon 9 lifted off at 8 p.m. EST (0100 GMT on January 9) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, on Florida's Space Coast. The launch was originally scheduled for late November, but was repeatedly delayed.

While it isn't exactly clear what the Zuma mission is or precisely who it's for, we do have some clues. This makes sense given that the relatively low orbit would SpaceX to bring the Falcon 9 first stage in for a landing back on land, rather than a drone ship at sea.

But now conditions for the mysterious mission are 80-percent go, weather-wise, in Florida.

The launch is SpaceX's first in what is expected to be a busy year.


The payload will be delivered to low Earth orbit, per the mission parameters, but we don't know anything else about its goal, design, or intended mission, because it's all classified.

The company's live webcast did not show video coverage of the Zuma spacecraft after it separated from the first stage of the rocket, but confirmed that the fairings deployed and the payload was well on its way to low-Earth orbit. Aside from its name, little is known about the payload.

Aerospace and defense company Northrop Grumman was responsible for securing SpaceX's launch services for the Zuma mission.

Success on Sunday will clear the way for SpaceX's next launch from Florida, the much anticipated test flight of the Falcon Heavy booster.

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