Secret SpaceX 'Zuma' launch scheduled for Sunday

Falcon 9

The two-hour launch window begins at 8 p.m. The rocket's first stage will attempt a controlled landing back on Earth at Landing Zone 1. Few details have been released about the classified mission, known as Zuma, other than it includes a satellite built by Northrop Grumman Corp.

Elon Musk's Space Exploration Technologies Corp successfully launched its first mission of the new year: a classified payload for the United States government into low-earth orbit.

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SpaceX has previously launched a pair of national security-related missions, a spy satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office and the robotic X-37B space plane for the U.S. Air Force. After the launch, the rocket's first stage will attempt to make a return to a landing site along the Florida coast for what would be the company's 21 rocket landing.

SpaceX is slated to launch the top-secret government mission Zuma from Cape Canaveral Sunday night. It wasn't until earlier in January that the company was able to confirm a hard time or date for the launch.

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After launch, SpaceX returned the tall portion of the Falcon 9 rocket to an upright landing at Cape Canaveral.

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

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"The U.S. government asked the aerospace and defense company Northrop Grumman to procure a launch vehicle, in this case the Falcon 9, for the Zuma launch", a company spokesperson said in November.

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