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SpaceX to launch mysterious Zuma payload Sunday

08 January 2018

The launch window opens at 8 p.m. and closes at 10 p.m. The first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket then returned for a vertical landing at Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral.

The mission, code named "Zuma", is a Falcon-9 rocket launch, but it is unclear what the rocket is carrying.

SpaceX is scheduled to launch a Falcon 9 rocket from Florida's Kennedy Space Center this evening, carrying a secretive USA government payload known as "Zuma" to low-Earth orbit.

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The launch was initially supposed to take place in November but was postponed so the California-based company could take a closer look at potential problems with the fairing, or the nose cone part of the rocket that protects the payload.

The current weather forecast predicts an 80 percent chance of favorable launch conditions.

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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.

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

We do know that aerospace and defense company Northrop Grumman procured Zuma's launch atop a Falcon 9 for the USA government - but we don't know which agency will operate the satellite, or if its mission is civilian or military. It wasn't until earlier in January that the company was able to confirm a hard time or date for the launch.

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SpaceX to launch mysterious Zuma payload Sunday