SpaceX set to launch secretive 'Zuma' spacecraft with classified USA government payload

08 January, 2018, 04:36 | Author: Grady King
  • Falcon 9

The launch window opens at 8 p.m. and closes at 10 p.m.

The first launch this year carried a special payload - Zuma, a secretive spacecraft commissioned by the USA government for an undisclosed mission. The company has said it plans to launch roughly 30 missions in 2018 after completing a record 18 a year ago. SpaceX plans to land the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

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SpaceX launched Zuma from its SLC-40 launch facility at Cape Canaveral in Florida, which was used instead of its other launch facility at Cape Canaveral because that was being employed for preparations for the launch of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket.

SpaceX lofted the super-secret Zuma spacecraft for the USA government tonight (Jan. 8), successfully executing a mission that also featured yet another landing by the first stage of the company's Falcon 9 rocket. After the launch, the rocket's first stage will attempt to make a return to a landing site along the Florida coast for what would be the company's 21 rocket landing. Aside from its name, little is known about the payload. It wasn't until earlier in January that the company was able to confirm a hard time or date for the launch.

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SpaceX has scheduled a live feed of the launch on YouTube (we've embedded it below!) but you can also watch along on Space.com's webcast page.

It's also SpaceX's third such launch for the United States government, with previous payloads including a spy satellite and the X-37B space plane.

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