On October 19, U.S. defense tech and aerospace company Northrop Grumman confirmed that they commissioned SpaceX for the low-Earth orbit launch, stating that it was a government mission without disclosing further details. Meet Zuma, the USA government's mystery satellite and the latest player in a global race to protect national security in space.
Zuma has a two-hour launch window for its flight from Kennedy Space Center. "Now targeting November 16 for launch - rocket and payload remain healthy‚ and the teams will use the extra day to conduct additional mission assurance work".
The launch window opens at 8 p.m.
Furthermore the two stage 229-foot-tall (70-meter-tall) Falcon 9 rocket was raised to vertical launch position later today Wednesday afternoon November 15 - so everything seems to be in place for a Thursday evening launch attempt. But the most interesting part of the mission might be the payload itself - dubbed "Zuma", we know nearly nothing else about the mysterious spacecraft. Space.com notes that such mystery is unusual even if Zuma is a spy satellite or satellite that will be used for national security.More news: 'Lord of the Rings' TV Series Heading to Amazon
Zuma satellite mission patch.
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. One is the moment when the rocket lands back on Earth, and the other is the moment when the payload successfully separates in space.
The mission, code named "Zuma", is a Falcon-9 rocket launch, but it is unclear what the rocket is carrying.