PHOTO COURTESY OF WIKIMEDIA
By MARCIA DUNN
AP Aerospace Writer
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) – SpaceX has launched a secret satellite codenamed Zuma on its first flight of the new year.
The unmanned Falcon rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Sunday night, carrying the satellite toward an undisclosed orbit.
SpaceX ended launch commentary five minutes into the flight, due to the classified nature of the U.S. satellite. But the company continued to broadcast the return of the first-stage booster to Cape Canaveral, where it landed upright as part of a recycling effort.
Northrop Grumman provided the satellite, for which government agency it wouldn’t say. The name Zuma refers to a Southern California beach.
Last year was a banner year for SpaceX , with 18 launches. It’s aiming for more this year.