SpaceX kicks off busy year with launch of mysterious payload

SpaceX kicks off busy year with launch of mysterious payload

SpaceX's first launch of 2018 was the classified Zuma mission, which lifted off earlier tonight at 8:00 p.m. EST.

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

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.

This weekend, SpaceX plans to launch a USA government payload, and, before the end of the month, the company is planning a test flight for what will be the world's most powerful rocket.

The payload will be delivered to low Earth orbit, per the mission parameters, but we don't know anything else about its objective, design, or intended mission, because it's all classified.

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"Northrop Grumman is proud to be a part of the Zuma launch".

The company is set to carry out a test fire next week, with Musk- also the CEO of Tesla Inc - stating that the payload will comprise the all-electric sports auto Tesla Roadster playing rocker David Bowie's Space Oddity.

On Sunday, Zuma was delivered to low-Earth orbit, which is typically defined as any orbital path less than about 1,200 miles above the Earth's surface, according to NASA.

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

SpaceX now can look forward to its next major test for the year - launching its huge heavy-duty rocket for the first time ever. Satellites bound for the high orbits used by communications stations and electronic eavesdropping satellites typically would not leave a Falcon 9 with enough left-over propellant to attempt a return to Florida.