SpaceX dazzles with first launch of the year

SpaceX has launched a secret satellite codenamed Zuma on its first flight of the new year. The first launch this year carried a special payload - Zuma, a secretive spacecraft commissioned by the USA government for an undisclosed mission.

Falcon 9 successfully took off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, with a two-hour primary launch window opening on January 7 at 8:00 p.m. Originally planned for a November 2017 launch, the mysterious Zuma mission was delayed due to issues with the Falcon 9 payload fairing.

Following separation of the rocket's two-stage configuration, its first stage will attempt to land at the aerospace company's Landing Zone 1, which is also located at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

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SpaceX is kicking off the New Year with a long list of launches on its manifest. But the company continued to broadcast the return of the first-stage booster to Cape Canaveral, where it landed upright as part of a recycling effort.

Northrop Grumman provided the satellite, but wouldn't say for which government agency. It's aiming for more this year, including the debut of the Falcon Heavy - a triple-core version of the Falcon 9 that will have all 27 engines firing at launch.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

  • Megan Austin