US space transport services company SpaceX launched a super-secretive US government payload into orbit from its Falcon 9 rocket in the early hours of January 8.
The Falcon lifted off at 8 p.m. ET from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. As the first-stage of the Falcon returned to Earth for an upright landing, the upper stage lofted the mysterious Zuma, presumed to be a spy satellite or military communications satellite, into an undisclosed orbit.
“The Zuma spacecraft will launch on Falcon 9, a two-stage rocket designed from the ground up by SpaceX for maximum reliability and the cost-efficient transport of satellites and SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft,” the company explained in the press release.
According to space.com, the booster's two stages separated 2 minutes and 19 seconds into flight. The second stage continued carrying the mysterious Zuma to its destination in low-Earth orbit (LEO), while the first stage began maneuvering its way back to terra firma for a touchdown at Landing Zone 1, a SpaceX facility at Cape Canaveral.
The purpose and orbital target of the Zuma mission were not disclosed in advance of Sunday night’s launch. SpaceX originally intended to launch the Zuma mission in mid-November, but officials grounded the rocket to review the readiness of the nose fairing that covered the payload during the first few minutes of the mission.
Sunday’s launch extended SpaceX’s streak of successful missions to 19 in a row, dating back to a rocket explosion at Cape Canaveral in 2016 that destroyed an Israeli-owned commercial communications satellite.
SpaceX unveiled its new Falcon Heavy rocket on Wednesday, which will likely launch Tesla Roadster, the battery powered electric car, into space. SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk chalked out the jaw-dropping plan in a series of tweets earlier this month
SpaceX has launched the US Air Forces super-secret space shuttle on Thursday. This is the fifth flight for the unmanned Falcon rocket, known as X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle,
A SpaceX Falcon rocket lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center on Monday to boost a classified spy satellite into orbit for the US military then turned around and touched down at a nearby landing pad. SpaceX on Monday blasted off a secretive US payload, known as NROL-76, marking the first military launch for the aerospace company headed by billionaire tycoon Elon Musk, various media reported today
SpaceX has won a $96.5 million GPS satellite launch contract defeating United Launch Alliance, a partnership of Lockheed Martin Corp
The US Air Force has awarded multiple contracts worth total $739 million for launch missions under the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program, announced Tuesday evening by the Department of defense. The first contract worth over $441 million is awarded to United Launch Services (ULS) to deliver the SILENTBARKER, SBIRS GEO-5, and SBIRS GEO-6 missions to their intended orbits
The Trump administration plans to launch the United States Space Force (USSF), the nation's sixth military branch, by 2020, Vice President Mike Pence said in a speech at the National Space Council on Tuesday, agencies reported. The proposed launch of the USSF has led to fears of space becoming the next battleground and testing field for advanced weaponry
Pakistan's first high resolution imaging satellite with a resolution of one meter was launched today by a Chinese Long March 2-C Rocket. The PRSS-1 is China's first optical remote sensing satellite sold to Pakistan developed by the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST)
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