Tags: spacex | launch | zuma | secret mission

SpaceX Launches Zuma Secret Mission Into Low-Earth Orbit

SpaceX Launches Zuma Secret Mission Into Low-Earth Orbit

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the secret Zuma spacecraft is launched at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Sunday. (Screengrab of video post/@SpaceX)

By    |   Monday, 08 January 2018 07:42 AM

SpaceX launched the Zuma secret mission into low-Earth orbit on Sunday, using its Falcon 9 rocket to send the classified payload into space for the U.S. government.

The mission blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Florida, with the first stage of the reusable rocket successfully, Bloomberg reported.

"As a company, Northrop Grumman realizes this is a monumental responsibility and we have taken great care to ensure the most affordable and lowest risk scenario for Zuma," Lon Rains, a Northrop Grumman spokesman, said of its decision to launch the mission using Elon Musk's SpaceX, short for Space Exploration Technologies Corp., per Bloomberg.

Time magazine reported that little is known about the mission. SpaceX ended its live web feed shortly after the payload separated from the Falcon 9 because of the classified nature of the cargo.

Time said the video feed continued to show the landing of the rocket's first stage, which could be reused in future flights.

USA Today reported that amateur satellite trackers who specialize in keeping tabs on classified missions believe that Zuma could be an experimental spacecraft testing new technologies, possibly sensors for watching close approaches between spacecraft.

USA Today said one theory about the mission was that it was connected with a May SpaceX launch done for the National Reconnaissance Office. That mission last year flew near the International Space Station at the same time two U.S. cargo craft arrived or departed.

Zuma was originally set to blast off last November when both the NRO satellite and the ISS were on track to fly over Cape Canaveral, USA Today. The launch, though, was delayed, with SpaceX saying it needed to examine a potential issue with the Falcon 9 rocket's nose cone.

SpaceX completed 18 launches last year, the most ever for a calendar year. The space company has said it plans to completing about 30 missions this year, Time wrote.

SpaceX plans to make the 30-mission number by flying from launch pads at Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, USA Today said.

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SpaceX launched the Zuma secret mission into low-Earth orbit on Sunday, using its Falcon 9 rocket to send the classified payload into space for the U.S. government.
spacex, launch, zuma, secret mission
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2018-42-08
Monday, 08 January 2018 07:42 AM
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