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SpaceX Will Launch the "Zuma" Spacecraft Today
17 November 2017, 01:54 | Clyde Nash
True Story: The US Is Sending 'Zuma' Into Space
"SpaceX is now targeting Thursday, Nov. 16 for launch of the Zuma mission", said SpaceX spokesman John Tayor.
SpaceX should begin its broadcast around 15 minutes prior to the opening of its launch window, so check back here to watch. This means no further information will be made available about the mission's goal. The payload was developed by Northrup Grumman, and has the mysterious name "Zuma", which sounds similar to a carbonated, alcoholic beverage briefly popular in the 1990s, Zima.
Zuma satellite mission patch.
Although Ars understands the payload is being launched for the National Reconnaissance Office, the mission's press kit offers absolutely no details about the payload.
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The only thing that is clear about Zuma is that the load will be positioned in a low orbit around the Earth at about 2000 km. maximum height. It's likely SpaceX'slive video feed above could cut away during the actual payload separation phase given the sensitivity, but we'll still get to see live footage of the launch and the landing attempt for the Falcon 9 first stage, at least. Overall, this will be the company's 17th launch of 2017, and it would more than double the company's launch totals in any previous year.
Launch Window: 10 p.m.
Shortly after liftoff, the first stage of the nine-engine rocket will attempt a propulsive landing at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Landing Zone 1, generating a powerful sonic boom along the way.
The covert haul is due to launch between 8pm and 10pm EST from NASA's Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, Florida.
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