SpaceX Launches Secret Zuma Mission for US Government, Lands Rocket

SpaceX Launch

This will be SpaceX's first launch of 2018. The two-hour launch window begins at 8 p.m.

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. 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.

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

SpaceX yesterday blasted off a secretive USA government payload known as Zuma, a mission whose nature - and the agency behind it - remains a mystery. After the launch, the rocket's first stage will attempt to make a return to a landing site along the Florida coast for what would be the company's 21 rocket landing.

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About 8 minutes later, the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket came in for a handsome night landing at a launch pad back at the Cape. But Sunday's launch is perhaps the company's most secretive yet.

Launch attempt of SpaceX Zuma mission.

Falcon 9 rocket stage lands back at Cape Canaveral. 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.

"The U.S. government asked the aerospace and defense company Northrop Grumman to procure a launch vehicle, in this case the Falcon 9, for the Zuma launch", a company spokesperson said in November.

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