Launch of Zuma now TBD or is it Jan. 6? – UPDATE
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX’s planned launch of the classified “Zuma” mission has slipped from 2017 to Thursday Jan. 4, to Friday Jan. 5 and now is listed as “To Be Determined.” The announcement of the latest delay was made by the 45th Space Wing on their website. Some sources, meanwhile, are stating the secretive launch will take place on Saturday, Jan. 6. So which is it?
At present, SpaceX has both Canaveral’s Space Launch Complex 40 and Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A occupied with launch vehicles. While SLC-40 is busy with Zuma, LC-39A is preparing for this month’s (planned) inaugural flight of the NewSpace firm’s Falcon Heavy rocket.
SpaceFlight Insider has reached out to SpaceX to alleviate the confusion. As of this writing, we have not received a reply. Some would argue that the clandestine nature of the mission is the cause of the confusion. However, United Launch Alliance frequently sends payloads for the Department of Defense and National Reconnaissance Office and provides the basics in terms of time and date of launch whenever changes to the launch schedule occurs.
After this update was published, SpaceX posted the following on Twitter:
Team at the Cape completed additional propellant loading tests today. Extreme weather slowed operations but Falcon 9 and the Zuma spacecraft are healthy and go for launch—now targeting January 7 from Pad 40 in Florida.
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) January 5, 2018
Jason Rhian spent several years honing his skills with internships at NASA, the National Space Society and other organizations. He has provided content for outlets such as: Aviation Week & Space Technology, Space.com, The Mars Society and Universe Today.