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SpaceX to launch mysterious Zuma spacecraft from Cape Canaveral
08 January 2018, 04:36 | Hattie Nash
SpaceX launches secret Zuma craft for US government
SpaceX and the Pentagon did not respond to requests for comment about the nature of the mission.
The rocket, carrying its secret payload called "Zuma", lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET.
"There is the possibility that residents of Brevard, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Voluisa counties may hear one or more sonic booms during the landing attempt". The company has said it plans to launch roughly 30 missions in 2018 after completing a record 18 past year.
Sunday's launch will also include a landing attempt of the Falcon 9's first stage at Landing Zone 1. (SpaceX has had 17 consecutive successful landings, so they're getting pretty good at this).
Nothing is really known about Zuma other than that it was commissioned by Northrop Grumman for an unknown customer and that it's "targeting an insertion position somewhere in low Earth orbit", per TechCrunch.
SpaceX is expected to kick off the New Year with a mysterious rocket launch. The Zuma payload was built by Northrop Grumman for the USA government, but additional information about the satellite is not available.
SpaceX uses the drone ship when it is sending a large payload to a low orbit or a lighter payload to a higher orbit because of the larger amount of fuel needed to bring the stage back. That office has not claimed this payload.
According to industry publication Spaceflight Now, the PAN and CLIO missions were unclaimed at launch, but it was revealed later that PAN was used to listen in on communications above the Middle East by the National Security Agency.
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Kabul blast: Death toll rises to 20
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