The SpaceX Falcon 9 launch of the hush-hush U.S. Government's Zuma payload launch had originally been planned for a launch tomorrow, Thursday, January 4, but has now been delayed until Friday, January 5 — there was no explanation offered for this mission delay, which had been originally planned for launch in November of last year.
The push to orbit will occur at Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral AFS in Florida and will be the first mission to gain space for 2018. A problem with the Falcon 9 fairing last November was the cause for the launch delay to this coming Thursday, January 4.
The launch window will open at 8:00 a.m. and will close at 10:00 p.m., ET. As is a SpaceX specialty, a land-based landing of the Falcon 9’s first stage will also be attempted.
As of this writing, details regarding this secret payload are rather scarce, other than the satellite will be resident in LEO and was manufactured by Northrup Grumman — this is not a National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) spacecraft, according to that agency — perhaps true, perhaps not.
If SpaceX is successful on Thursday, the firm will have proven themselves once again to be a competent and reliable launch force as the provider for ongoing U.S. Government payload missions of the secretive sort.
The next milestone for SpaceX is the debut launch of the company’s Falcon Heavy booster, which is scheduled for sometime late this month or early next month.