SpaceX successfully launches secret satellite after weeks-long delay

08 January, 2018, 04:55 | Author: Harriet Bell
  • An artist’s representation of Falcon Heavy a 230-foot-tall rocket which is capable of carrying a payload of more than 54 tons

The exact time of the launch has yet to be set, though SpaceX has set a two-hour window beginning at 12 AEDT. This makes sense given that the relatively low orbit would SpaceX to bring the Falcon 9 first stage in for a landing back on land, rather than a drone ship at sea. The launch was originally scheduled for late November, but was repeatedly delayed.

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.

The Falcon 9 rocket will carry Zuma, a US government spacecraft, into low-Earth orbit.

The mission - referred to as code name Zuma - took off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on a Falcon 9 rocket. SpaceX's press kit offers no details about the mysterious satellite.

That mission last summer was observed flying close to the International Space Station, at a time when two USA cargo craft arrived or departed.

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SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk's goal is to flawless the technique so that rockets can one day become just as reusable as airplanes, thereby lowering the cost of space travel.

The booster's two stages separated 2 minutes and 19 seconds into flight.

United Launch Alliance, meanwhile, is close to starting its 2018 launch campaign with a pair of launches from two coasts.

The unmanned Falcon rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Sunday night, carrying the satellite toward an undisclosed orbit. It wasn't until earlier in January that the company was able to confirm a hard time or date for the launch.

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