SpaceX to launch top-secret Zuma Sunday

Reuters

Originally planned for a launch Thursday, January 4, then delayed until Friday, January 5 and now delayed until Sunday January 7. About all we know is that contractor and manufacturer Northrop Grumman booked the launch on behalf of the federal government.

SpaceX successfully sent something into space for the United States government, and that may be all we'll ever know about the so-called "Zuma" mission that Elon Musk's commercial space company completed from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida Sunday evening.

SpaceX is expected to kick off the New Year with a mysterious rocket launch.

The new nine-engine rocket will launch from pad 39A and will take the secret payload to a low orbit.

The launch window opens at 8 p.m. and closes at 10 p.m. SpaceX plans to land the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

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The second stage was programmed to fire into orbit to deploy Zuma a few hundred miles above Earth.

Both of those will launch on used Falcon 9 boosters, as SpaceX continues to re-fly rockets it has landed on previous missions.

The 230-foot-tall rocket, which is capable of carrying a payload of more than 54 tons, will be launched at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, where it has already been rolled out.

CEO Elon Musk says the heavy-lift launcher's debut test flight - carrying his own Tesla Roadster sports auto into space - is possible from KSC before the end of this month.

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