'Zuma' Will Launch Today, and We Have No Idea What It Is

'Zuma' Will Launch Today, and We Have No Idea What It Is

Space.com notes that such mystery is unusual even if Zuma is a spy satellite or satellite that will be used for national security.

Elon Musk's rocket company will be sending a mysterious payload known only as "Zuma" into low earth orbit from Cape Canaveral. The payload will be launched by the company's Falcon 9 rocket.

It's not clear which USA government agency or department is involved.

SpaceX is targeting a two-hour window that opens at 8 p.m.to launch the mysterious mission codenamed "Zuma", which Northrop Grumman has confirmed is a "U.S. government" payload.

Zuma mission patch
Enlarge Zuma mission patch

"Northrop Grumman realizes that this is monumental responsibility and have taken great care to ensure the most affordable and lowest risk scenario for Zuma", said Lon Rains, communications director for Northrop Grumman's Space Systems Division, to The Verge. In September a Falcon 9 rocket launched the Air Force's secretive X-37B "spaceplane" into orbit.

The launch was set for Wednesday, but pushed back a day "to conduct additional mission assurance work", according to SpaceX.

You can watch the launch and attempted landing of the SpaceX Falcon 9 booster rocket-starting just before 8pm local time from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral-on the company's live webcast.

Residents of the communities of Cape Canaveral, Cocoa, Cocoa Beach, Merritt Island, Mims, Port Canaveral, Port St. John, Rockledge, Scottsmoor, Sharpes, and Titusville, Florida, are most likely to hear a sonic boom, although what Brevard County residents experience will depend on weather conditions and other factors.

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