SpaceX’s Highly Classified Zuma Mission To Launch Jan. 5th
The highly classified government Zuma satellite will launch on January, 5th 2018 after a few months delay. SpaceX will launch the Zuma payload on their flight-proven Falcon 9 rocket and attempt to land the Falcon’s first stage back to landing zone 1, just south of the launch pad at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The launch is scheduled for a window from 8:00 – 10:00 PM on Friday night.
The highly classified mission was supposed to launch last November but was delayed due so SpaceX could look at the payload fairing data. John Taylor from SpaceX media relation stated back in November, “We have decided to stand down and take a closer look at data from recent fairing testing for another customer. Though we have preserved the range opportunity for tomorrow, we will take the time we need to complete the data review and will then confirm a new launch date.”
Initially, the Zuma payload was to launch from complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center, however, due to the Falcon Heavy Demo flight, SpaceX moved the launch over to complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
On January 3rd, 2018, the 45th Weather Squadron published a report stating the Zuma mission had a 90% chance of favorable weather for Friday’s launch of the top-secret payload.
Also on Wednesday morning, SpaceX tweeted that it was loading the Falcon 9 with propellant and no static test fire was needed.