Saturday, 21 July, 2018

First SpaceX launch of 2018 carries a secret payload

SpaceX launches secret Zuma craft for US government First SpaceX launch of 2018 carries a secret payload
Grady Vargas | 08 January, 2018, 04:54

After a record 18 launches in 2017, this mission will be SpaceX's first flight of the new year.

Sunday's launch will also include a landing attempt of the Falcon 9's first stage at Landing Zone 1. The Zuma mission was supposed to take place in mid-November, but SpaceX put it on hold to investigate the results of testing for another customer.

The Falcon 9 rocket will carry Zuma, a USA government spacecraft, into low-Earth orbit.

Launch attempt of SpaceX Zuma mission.

"Everybody involved with the mission is pretty tight-lipped about it", Space.com reported past year. The reusable rocket landed about seven minutes after liftoff, SpaceX said.

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The Zuma mission is a mystery, but it has been identified as a government payload managed by Northrop Grumman, according to Florida Today.

The company aims to top that total this year, flying from three launch pads - at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Kennedy Space Center and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. This is SpaceX's third classified mission, and arguably its most secretive flight for the USA military.

While it isn't exactly clear what the Zuma mission is or precisely who it's for, we do have some clues.

United Launch Alliance, meanwhile, is close to starting its 2018 launch campaign with a pair of launches from two coasts.

The rocket, carrying its secret payload called "Zuma", lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET. 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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