SpaceX successfully launches Zuma mission for USA government

1_3_Falcon 9

The exact time of the launch has yet to be set, though SpaceX has set a two-hour window beginning at 12 AEDT.

After a almost two-month delay, the rocket is set to blast off sometime during a two-hour launch window, which opens at 8 p.m. Earlier this week additional propellant loading tests contributed to further delays, as did "extreme weather" at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida-mostly gusty winds.

Originally planned for a November launch, the mysterious Zuma mission may finally go to space on Sunday evening.

SpaceX lofted the super-secret Zuma spacecraft for the US government tonight (Jan. 8), successfully executing a mission that also featured yet another landing by the first stage of the company's Falcon 9 rocket.

The Falcon 9 rocket will carry Zuma, a USA government spacecraft, into low-Earth orbit.

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The booster's two stages separated 2 minutes and 19 seconds into flight.

After a record 18 launches in 2017, this mission will be SpaceX's first flight of the new year. Just what that business may be is unclear; little has been revealed about the payload.

It's SpaceX's third classified launch for the US government, this one taking place under a deal with defense contractor Northrop Grumman.

SpaceX has launched national security payloads in the past, including a spy satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office, and an X-37B space plane for the US Air Force. But Sunday's launch is perhaps the company's most secretive yet.

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