Science

SpaceX to launch top-secret Zuma Sunday

SpaceX to launch top-secret Zuma Sunday

The two-hour launch window begins at 8 p.m.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the secret Zuma spacecraft for the US government launches Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on January 7, 2018 in this still from a SpaceX video.

SpaceX launched Zuma from its SLC-40 launch facility at Cape Canaveral in Florida, which was used instead of its other launch facility at Cape Canaveral because that was being employed for preparations for the launch of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket.

The spokesperson also said that Zuma is heading to low-Earth orbit. SpaceX had originally planned for this launch in November of previous year.

The mission was delayed from 2017, which was a record-breaking year for SpaceX, as the company launched 18 times.

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

What's particularly mysterious about Zuma is that spy satellites are usually claimed by the military agency that oversees them, known as the National Reconnoissance Office.

Falcon 9 rocket stage lands back at Cape Canaveral. The reusable rocket landed about seven minutes after liftoff, SpaceX said.

For Sunday night's launch time, the orbital tracks of those three spacecraft - Zuma, the NRO satellite and the ISS - were no longer closely aligned, suggesting the missions might not be related after all.


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