How To Watch SpaceX Launch The US Government's Mysterious Zuma Spacecraft Today

Gwen Vasquez
January 8, 2018

It will be carrying a secret payload for the USA government, code-named Zuma. The two-hour launch window begins at 8 p.m.

The satellite will be launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 from the private company's recently renovated pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Friday, Jan. 5, between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.

A series of engine firings to flip it around and slow its plunge through the atmosphere culminated in SpaceX's 21st rocket landing in just over two years.

The Zuma mission was first revealed to the public in October, when NASA reported that SpaceX has requested authorization for the mysterious "Mission 1390". If all goes well and without any kind of unplanned explosion, the reusable part of the Falcon 9 should touch down at around eight minutes post-launch.

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The Zuma launch was initially planned for November, but was delayed due to issues with the fairing, which houses the payload on its way to being deployed into orbit around Earth.

Watch a replay of the launch and landing of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket on January 7 at Cape Canaveral.

Falcon 9 rocket stage lands back at Cape Canaveral. So it's certainly not unlikely that it's designed for military or intelligence purposes; per USA Today, amateur satellite watchers have speculated Zuma is related to earlier launches of spacecraft that appeared to be surveilling other spaceborne objects.

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

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