SpaceX's Mysterious Zuma Mission to Be First Falcon 9 Launch of 2018

SpaceX's Mysterious Zuma Mission to Be First Falcon 9 Launch of 2018”

The secrecy surrounding the launch and the involvement of defence contractor Northrup Grumman in building and operating the spacecraft has led many to speculate that it is defence related.

The mission, known as Commercial Resupply Services 13 (CRS-13), launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force station in Florida on a Falcon 9 rocket previously flown for CRS-11 in June this year. The first stage, on its second flight after being refurbished following a launch earlier this year, made a controlled descent back to the Pacific Ocean, but SpaceX did not plan to recover the booster on the December 21 mission.

If SpaceX is successful on Thursday, the firm will have proven themselves once again to be a competent and reliable launch force as the provider for ongoing U.S. Government payload missions of the secretive sort. Northrop also secured the launch contract with SpaceX for the government. The NRO has officially denied the Zuma payload belongs to it.

Coverage of the launch can be seen on Space Coast Daily TV.

After delivering the satellite into orbit, the Falcon 9 rocket is planned to return to a different launchpad at Cape Canaveral in Florida.

Just down the way, at Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39, the three-core Falcon Heavy rocket is vertical and being prepared for a static fire test in the coming weeks.

This is only launch NASA has approved use of a previously launched rocket. company demonstrated thorough readiness for the rocket after NASA participated "in a broad range" of date assessments and inspections of the Falcon 9.

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