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SpaceX Launch of Mysterious Zuma Spacecraft Delayed Until Friday

17 November 2017, 01:49 | Hattie Nash

Zuma to be launched into orbit

True Story: The US Is Sending 'Zuma' Into Space

It launched a classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office in May and an Air Force space plane in September. The mission was not even made public until a launch license was released a month ago, and the company didn't acknowledge the launch until this last week.

If all goes according to plan, Zuma will now lift off atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket Friday from Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida, during a window that opens at 8 p.m. EST (0100 GMT on November 18). That will be followed by the company's signature rocket landing and recovery. Some people along Florida's coast will hear a loud sonic boom as the rocket returns from space, which is probably more than we'll ever officially hear about what Zuma actually is. The launch is scheduled for 8 p.m. EST Wednesday from Cape Canaveral, Florida. You can also watch it directly via SpaceX's live webcast page here.

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Northrop Grumman arranged to launch the Zuma payload with SpaceX on behalf of the US government, but no other details about the mission have been disclosed.

"Northrop Grumman realizes that this is monumental responsibility and have taken great care to ensure the most affordable and lowest risk scenario for Zuma", said Lon Rains, communications director for Northrop Grumman's Space Systems Division, to The Verge. But, other than that, not many details are outlined in the company's press kit. "Northrop Grumman is proud to be part of the Zuma launch". Marco Langbroek, a satellite tracker in the Netherlands, believes Zuma might be working in conjunction with another satellite launched by the same rocket in May.



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