The Mysterious Zuma Mission, SpaceX's First Launch of 2018, Is Tonight

Where the top secret spy satellite lands nobody knows. Zuma Mission by Spacex

Where the top secret spy satellite lands nobody knows. Zuma Mission by Spacex

The blaze allowed the rocket to safely cut back through the Earth's atmosphere and land on a pad at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

"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.

SpaceX has previously launched a pair of national security-related missions, a spy satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office and the robotic X-37B space plane for the U.S. Air Force.

Northrop Grumman provided the satellite, for which government agency it wouldn't say. Pacific. The rocket will be launching from Cape Canaveral in Florida. This is SpaceX's third classified mission, and arguably its most secretive flight for the United States military.

The company's first successful Falcon 9 rocket launch of 2018 was also probably the most secretive in the company's history.

The company executed its signature move: guiding the first-stage rocket booster back to Earth for a safe landing.

An exact date for the inaugural launch has not been set, but Musk wrote on Instagram last week that SpaceX is looking to do it before the end of the month.

The Zuma launch kicked off what SpaceX hopes will be an exciting year.

A worldwide network of amateur satellite trackers will be on the lookout in the coming days and weeks in hopes of detecting the spacecraft and determining the details of its orbit.

Coverage of the launch can be seen on Space Coast Daily TV. So, it has only attempted recovering a single core.

It was postponed to allow SpaceX to analyze data from a previous launch.

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