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SpaceX Kicks Off New Year With Secret Launch

A Falcon 9 carrying "Zuma" during a launch attempt November 2017. Photo: SpaceX / Twitter

SpaceX is targeting its first launch of 2018 on Sunday, Jan. 7, but not much is known about what is actually heading into space.

The payload is code-named “Zuma” – a secret payload for an unspecified government agency.

The launch was a late addition to SpaceX’s manifest last year and an attempt to launch the payload was scrubbed back in November.

This new attempt on a Falcon 9 rocket will include a booster landing back at Cape Canaveral which could mean people in the area will hear a sonic boom. The launch window opens around 8:00 p.m. Sunday.

Once SpaceX launches Zuma, the space company will focus on launching its Falcon Heavy – a massive rocket made up of three Falcon 9 boosters with a total of 27 engines.

The demonstration launch of that will happen no earlier than mid-January. Since it’s a test flight, founder Elon Musk decided to launch an electric car on a trajectory to Mars.

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Brendan Byrne

About Brendan Byrne

Space Reporter and 'Are We There Yet?' Host

Brendan covers space news for WMFE, everything from rocket launches to the latest scientific discoveries in our universe. He hosts WMFE's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration. Brendan is a native Floridian, born and raised in Broward County. He moved to ... Read Full Bio »