Monday, January 8, 2018
SpaceX launches Zuma
SpaceX lifted the secret Zuma spacecraft for the government Sunday night in a mission that also featured another landing by the first stage of the company's Falcon 9 rocket. The launch was from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Florida's east coast. The booster's two stages separated 2 minutes and 19 seconds into flight. The second stage continued carrying Zuma to its destination in low-Earth orbit, and the first stage made a vertical touchdown at Landing Zone 1, a SpaceX facility at Cape Canaveral. The first stage landed a little less than 8 minutes after taking off. SpaceX now has 21 successful first stage returns, part of its plan to develop reusable rockets. The launch followed more than a month of delays. (Sources: Space.com, CNN, 01/08/18) Gulf Coast note: SpaceX is using Stennis Space Center, Miss., to develop its next-generation Raptor engine.