Published: Mon, January 08, 2018
Science | By Eileen Rhodes

SpaceX successfully launches secret satellite after weeks-long delay

SpaceX successfully launches secret satellite after weeks-long delay

SpaceX and the Pentagon did not respond to requests for comment about the nature of the mission.

The company's first successful Falcon 9 rocket launch of 2018 was also probably the most secretive in the company's history.

After launch, SpaceX returned the tall portion of the Falcon 9 rocket to an upright landing at Cape Canaveral.

Among the few concrete details, however, is the launch's contractor, Northrop Grumman, who was selected by the USA government to find a rocket for the launch, hence the use of Falcon 9.

That is a move from the nearby NASA-owned Kennedy Space Center, where the launch was originally planned in November. That would place Zuma near the others once in orbit, perhaps not by coincidence.

More news: Has Imran Khan secretly married his spiritual guru?

These landings are part of SpaceX's effort to develop fully reusable rockets and spacecraft - technology that company founder and CEO Elon Musk has said will slash the cost of spaceflight.

Falcon 9 rocket stage lands back at Cape Canaveral.

SpaceX also has two more satellite missions that could fly in late January: a Spanish Earth observation craft launching from California, and a European communications satellite from Cape Canaveral. So far, five "flight proven" boosters have flown for a second time.

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

The 45th Space Wing on Tuesday is scheduled to deliver its year-ahead forecast of local launch activity to the National Space Club Florida Committee.

Like this: