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1st stage accomplished successful ground landing at the Cape nine minutes later. This means no further information will be made available about the mission's objective.

"The payload aboard SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket is a top-secret passenger for the U.S. government named Zuma", reported SpaceFlight Now on Wednesday.

Since earning certification from the Air Force to launch national security payloads-typically spy satellites and military communications satellites-SpaceX has flown two military missions.

"Both Falcon 9 and the payload remain healthy; teams will use the extra day to conduct some additional mission assurance work in advance of launch".

For a launch scheduled later today, at 8 PM EST (5 PM PST), that second part might be cut from the live video feed found below, due to the sensitive nature of the Falcon 9's payload. Eastern Standard Time on Thursday, November 16, 2017, from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. But the most interesting part of the mission might be the payload itself - dubbed "Zuma", we know nearly nothing else about the mysterious spacecraft. As seen from inside the pad perimeter.

Shortly after liftoff, the first stage of the nine-engine rocket will attempt a propulsive landing at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Landing Zone 1, generating a powerful sonic boom along the way.

Stay tuned here for Ken's continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news.

Zuma is a fairly small satellite, and it's going to a fairly low orbit, since SpaceX plans to fly its rocket booster to land at Cape Canaveral, rather than on a sea-going landing platform.


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