Technology SpaceX successfully launches top-secret Zuma spacecraft

05:21  08 january  2018
05:21  08 january  2018 Source:   techcrunch.com

A Triumphant Year for SpaceX

  A Triumphant Year for SpaceX The year 2017 has turned out to be a good one for rocket science in the United States. American companies made 29 successful rocket launches into orbit, the highest figure since 1999, which saw 31 launches, according to a comprehensive database maintained by Gunter Krebs, a spaceflight historian in Germany. The final launch of the year, by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying a cache of commercial communications satellites, took place Friday night at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.SpaceX, Elon Musk’s private spaceflight company, is responsible for most of this year’s launches.

SpaceX has successfully launched its first mission of 2018, after capping a record year last year in 2017 with 18 total launches . The first launch this year carried a special payload – Zuma , a secretive spacecraft commissioned by the U.S. government for an undisclosed mission.

SpaceX has successfully launched its first mission of 2018, after capping a record year last year in 2017 with 18 total launches . The first launch this year carried a special payload – Zuma , a secretive spacecraft commissioned by the U.S. government for an undisclosed mission.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket prepares to launch from the Space Launch Complex 4 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in Lompoc, California on December 22, 2017. SpaceX blasted off a re-used Falcon 9 rocket carrying 10 satellites into orbit, its fourth launch toward a $3 billion upgrade to Virginia-based Iridium's mobile, voice and data network. © AFP PHOTO / Robyn Beck The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket prepares to launch from the Space Launch Complex 4 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in Lompoc, California on December 22, 2017. SpaceX blasted off a re-used Falcon 9 rocket carrying 10 satellites into orbit, its fourth launch toward a $3 billion upgrade to Virginia-based Iridium's mobile, voice and data network.

SpaceX has successfully launched its first mission of 2018, after capping a record year last year in 2017 with 18 total launches. The first launch this year carried a special payload – Zuma, a secretive spacecraft commissioned by the U.S. government for an undisclosed mission.

SpaceX shows off its Falcon Heavy rocket vertical on the launchpad

  SpaceX shows off its Falcon Heavy rocket vertical on the launchpad SpaceX is getting ready for its first ever test flight of the Falcon Heavy, it's heavy-duty rocket aimed at propelling large cargo loads into low Earth orbit. The rocket uses three Falcon 9 boosters combined for maximum load capacity when leaving Earth'sSpaceX is getting ready for its first ever test flight of the Falcon Heavy, it's heavy-duty rocket aimed at propelling large cargo loads into low Earth orbit. The rocket uses three Falcon 9 boosters combined for maximum load capacity when leaving Earth's atmosphere, and it's looking to do its first test launch within the next few weeks from Cape Canaveral in Florida.

SpaceX has successfully launched its first mission of 2018, after capping a record year last year in 2017 with 18 total launches . The first launch this year carried a special payload – Zuma , a secretive spacecraft commissioned by the U.S. government for an undisclosed mission.

SpaceX has successfully launched its first mission of 2018, after capping a document 12 months final 12 months in 2017 with 18 whole launches . The first launch this 12 months carried a particular payload – Zuma , a secretive spacecraft commissioned by the U.S. authorities for an undisclosed

SpaceX launched Zuma from its SLC-40 launch facility at Cape Canaveral in Florida, which was used instead of its other launch facility at Cape Canaveral because that was being employed for preparations for the launch of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket.

The payload will be delivered to low Earth orbit, per the mission parameters, but we don't know anything else about its purpose, design, or intended mission, because it's all classified. SpaceX has also flown other sensitive cargo for the U.S., including the Air Force's X-37B spaceplane.

a star in the background © Provided by TechCrunch

This launch also included a recovery of the first stage booster used with the Falcon 9, which returned to Cape Canaveral and landed at its LZ-1 landing pad after deploying and separating from the second stage.

SpaceX now can look forward to its next major test for the year – launching its huge heavy-duty rocket for the first time ever.

SpaceX Dragon Capsule Returns to Earth After Space Station Delivery .
A SpaceX Dragon cargo ship left the International Space Station and returned to Earth Saturday (Jan. 13), wrapping up a nearly month-long delivery mission for NASA that also marked the spacecraft's second trip to space.The uncrewed Dragon supply ship detached from the space station's robotic arm at 4:58 a.m. EST (0958 GMT) and began firing thrusters for its return to Earth. The space capsule splashed down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California to be retrieved by SpaceX, the company announced at 10:39 a.m. EST (1539 GMT).

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