SpaceX Successfully Launches Zuma Mission

SpaceX launching Falcon Heavy and Dragon

Tonight, Elon Musk’s SpaceX successfully launched the secret Zuma spacecraft, a project meant for the United States government. It also accomplished a mission involving a landing by the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket. The latter reportedly took off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 8 p.m. EST. After 2 minutes and 19 seconds, the two stages of the booster separated. After that, the second stage of the mission continued by carrying Zuma in low-Earth orbit, its destination.

It seems that SpaceX is now in a very good place, with 21 successful touchdowns, nine at the Landing Zone 1, and twelve on some autonomous spaceport droneships, in the ocean. There are two of those belonging to the company and their names are “Just Read the Instructions” and “Of Course I Still Love You”.

Another successful launch from SpaceX

It seems that all these landings are part of the company’s efforts to develop reusable rockets and spacecraft. According to the SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, if successful, this might drastically reduce the cost of spaceflight. At the moment, the company has managed to reuse five of those boosters. Also, two Dragon cargo capsules, which do not have a crew. They are mainly used for resupplying reasons for the international Space Station. It’s worth mentioning that the recently-launched Falcon 9 rocket was a new one, and not a reused one.

However, everyone seems to agree that SpaceX’s main aim was to get the super-secret Zuma off the ground. Now, the spacecraft has begun its mission which nobody knows anything about. According to some reports, aerospace and defense company Northrop Grumman managed to obtain Zuma’s launch for the government. However, nobody is sure whether the mission is military or civilian or who will operate the satellite. SpaceX originally planned to launch Zuma in November but postponed it to make sure that everything worked perfectly.

Image source: wikimedia

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