SpaceX postpones launch of secretive Zuma mission

November 17, 2017
This image obtained from SpaceX shows the company's Falcon 9 rocket carrying the US Air Force's unmanned X-37B drone lifting off
This image obtained from SpaceX shows the company's Falcon 9 rocket carrying the US Air Force's unmanned X-37B drone lifting off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center on September 7, 2017

SpaceX on Thursday postponed the launch of a secretive US government payload known as Zuma, a mission whose nature—and the agency behind it—is a mystery.

"We have decided to stand down and take a closer look at data from recent fairing testing for another customer," SpaceX said in a statement issued late Thursday about two hours before the planned launch window was to open. The fairing is the nose cone part of the rocket that protects the payload.

"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."

SpaceX and the Pentagon did not respond to requests for comment about the nature of the mission.

Northrup Grumman, the maker of the , said it was for the US government and would be delivered to low-Earth orbit, but offered no other details.

SpaceX is no stranger to national security launches.

Earlier this year the California-based company headed by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk launched a spy satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office, and an X-37B space plane for the US Air Force.

After liftoff, SpaceX will attempt to return the first stage portion of its Falcon 9 rocket to Earth for a controlled landing on solid ground near Cape Canaveral.

If successful, it will be the 20th upright touchdown for a Falcon 9 since the company began its effort to recycle costly parts and make spaceflight more affordable.

Explore further: SpaceX poised to launch secretive Zuma mission

Related Stories

SpaceX poised to launch secretive Zuma mission

November 16, 2017

SpaceX is poised to launch on Thursday a secretive payload known as Zuma for the US government, though the nature of the mission and the agency behind it remain a mystery.

SpaceX to launch classified US govt payload Sunday

April 29, 2017

SpaceX on Sunday is scheduled to make its first military launch, with a classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office, which makes and operates spy satellites for the United States.

SpaceX launches, lands recycled rocket

October 12, 2017

SpaceX on Wednesday launched a rocket that had already flown to space and landed it successfully on an ocean platform, as part of its ongoing effort to recycle costly rocket components.

Recommended for you

APEX takes a glimpse into the heart of darkness

May 25, 2018

The 12 m radio telescope APEX in Chile has been outfitted with special equipment including broad bandwidth recorders and a stable hydrogen maser clock for performing joint interferometric observations with other telescopes ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.