SpaceX launches secret government payload, brings rocket back home

SpaceX launches secret government payload, brings rocket back home

SpaceX has confirmed they will be attempting to launch a Falcon 9 rocket with the Zuma spacecraft aboard on Sunday.

SpaceX will then target a booster landing at nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Landing Zone 1.

While it isn't exactly clear what the Zuma mission is or precisely who it's for, we do have some clues.

SpaceX now can look forward to its next major test for the year - launching its huge heavy-duty rocket for the first time ever.

An undisclosed issue with the Falcon 9 rocket's fairing caused SpaceX to delay the launch for several weeks in November and eventually move the date forward to January 4.

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

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.

"As a company, Northrop Grumman realises this is a monumental responsibility and we have taken great care to ensure the most affordable and lowest risk scenario for Zuma", Mr Rains said, declining to comment on the nature of the payload. SpaceX landed the rocket's first stage for reuse in a future launch, a key step in its goal to drive down the cost of access to space.

Launch attempt of SpaceX Zuma mission.

It's also SpaceX's third such launch for the USA government, with previous payloads including a spy satellite and the X-37B space plane.

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