Published: Mon, January 08, 2018
Science | By Cecil Little

SpaceX to launch mysterious Zuma spacecraft from Cape Canaveral

SpaceX to launch mysterious Zuma spacecraft from Cape Canaveral

This will be SpaceX's first launch of 2018.

The launch was initially supposed to take place in November but was postponed so the California-based company could take a closer look at potential problems with the fairing, or the nose cone part of the rocket that protects the payload.

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

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

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According to Space.com, the launch will involve a re-entry attempt by the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket at Cape Canaveral's Landing Zone 1 - SpaceX has pulled off 20 such re-entries previously. This is SpaceX's third classified mission, and arguably its most secretive flight for the U.S. military.

Elon Musk's Space Exploration Technologies Corp successfully launched its first mission of the new year: a classified payload for the USA government into low-earth orbit. The Zuma landing marks SpaceX's 21st successful landing. It wasn't until earlier in January that the company was able to confirm a hard time or date for the launch. The rocket was rolled to the launch pad for tests in late December, and a critical static firing of its 27 engines should come within a week or so of the Zuma mission.

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SpaceX just sent a secret government mission to space. SpaceX landed the rocket's first stage for reuse in a future launch, a key step in its goal to drive down the cost of access to space.

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