SpaceX launches secret Zuma mission, lands rocket booster at Cape

Falcon 9 rocket blasts off from Space Coast

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – The first Space Coast launch of the year, a classified mission, took place Sunday night.

The mission, only known as Zuma, was set for Thursday, pushed back to Friday and then again into the weekend. 

SpaceX tried multiple times at the end of 2017 to launch Zuma, but weather and issues with the Falcon 9 rocket nose cone created delays moving the targeted launch date into 2018.

A reason for the most recent delay was not given.

Zuma is a U.S. government payload delivered by Northrop Gruman, but its purpose is classified.

SpaceX landed Falcon 9’s first stage booster back at Cape Canaveral Landing Zone 1, causing a sonic boom across a portion of Central Florida.

SpaceX is kicking off the New Year with a long list of launches on its manifest. Zuma will be the first before the company premiers its new Falcon Heavy rocket, sometime later in January.

Falcon Heavy was vertical on the Kennedy Space Center launch pad 39A last week for the first time.

What you need to know:
What: SpaceX Falcon 9 launch
Payload: Mission known as Zuma, handled by Northrop Gruman for U.S. government
Pad: Cape Canaveral Air Force Space Launch Complex 40, find out where to watch the launch here
When: Sunday, between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Weather: 80 percent "go" as of Saturday
Landing: Ground landing at Cape Canaveral Landing Zone 1
Sonic boom expected: Yes

Florida Today's Emre Kelly contributed to this report.


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