SpaceX launches Zuma spacecraft, most secretive mission to date

Space Exploration Technologies Corp, led by entrepreneur Elon Musk, launched its first satellite for the US military with its Falcon 9 rocket in May of last year.

A US official and two congressional aides familiar with the launch said on condition of anonymity that the second-stage booster section of the Falcon 9 failed.

Because of Zuma's secrecy, SpaceX didn't live stream the entire mission as it typically does.

The mission had been scheduled to launch several times last year, but it was pushed back to on multiple occasions for undisclosed reasons. The company has not disclosed which arm of the government it is working on behalf of.

According to the report, the satellite may have been worth billions of dollars. The launch time and window remain the same for Thursday, opening at 8:00 p.m. EST and remaining open until 10:00 p.m. EST.

Aerospace company SpaceX is all set to launch world's most powerful rocket - Falcon Heavy - by the end of January this year. Only that amateur satellites trackers will have next weeks busy working on the mystery is our next hope to receive further details.

What is aboard the Zuma satellite?

For the test flight, the rocket will not carry a customer's payload.

One of the few scraps of information currently available has revealed Zuma was supposed to enter into a low orbit around Earth.

Of course, this assumes the thing doesn't explode mid-launch. But SpaceX did provide coverage of the early moments of the flight, including the successful return to Earth of the Falcon 9's first stage about eight minutes after liftoff.

She said the incident will not impact two other planned SpaceX launches in the coming weeks.

That would indicate the presumed problem did not involve the Falcon 9. This was followed an estimated minute and 42 seconds later by another flawless landing at LZ-1.

SpaceX will finally launch Zuma, a mysterious "restricted" payload for the US government, on Sunday - weather permitting.

"It's guaranteed to be exciting", Musk said.

Northrop Grumman, which built the satellite, told Dow Jones through a spokesman: "We cannot comment on classified missions". That goal is completely in line with Elon Musk and his company's goal to drive down the cost of access to space.

SpaceX's 23-minute webcast of the Zuma launch Sunday evening included the Falcon 9 launch, confirmation that the farings deployed, and the rocket's first-stage recovery on land in Florida.

  • Monte Muniz