SpaceX to launch mysterious Zuma spacecraft from Cape Canaveral

Ivan Schwartz
January 8, 2018

Launch attempt of SpaceX Zuma mission.

Today, Elon Musk's SpaceX will launch "Zuma", a mysterious government spacecraft of unknown objective, on one of its partially-reusable Falcon 9 two-stage rockets from Launch Complex 40 at Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The rocket's first stage will attempt a controlled landing back on Earth at Landing Zone 1. The landing caused a sonic boom to be heard all the way to Orlando.

SpaceX has successfully launched its first mission of 2018, after capping a record year last year in 2017 with 18 total launches.

To date, SpaceX has launched 49 rockets, of which 44 have been successful.

Another delay for SpaceX's U.S. Government's Zuma payload launch aboard the Falcon 9 rocket.

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"Northrop Grumman is proud to be a part of the Zuma launch".

The launch window for the Falcon 9 rocket opens at 8 p.m.

So it's certainly not unlikely that it's designed for military or intelligence purposes; per USA Today, amateur satellite watchers have speculated Zuma is related to earlier launches of spacecraft that appeared to be surveilling other spaceborne objects. SpaceX's press kit offers no details about the mysterious satellite.

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.

According to industry publication Spaceflight Now, the PAN and CLIO missions were unclaimed at launch, but it was revealed later that PAN was used to listen in on communications above the Middle East by the National Security Agency.

Other reports by GizPress

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