SpaceX launches secret satellite Zuma on 1st flight of year

This photograph released by SpaceX shows its Falcon 9 rocket before liftoff from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Calif., Friday, Dec. 22, 2017. The reused SpaceX rocket has carried 10 satellites into space from California, leaving behind it a trail of mystery and wonder. The Falcon 9 booster lifted off from coastal Vandenberg AFB shortly before 5:30 p.m. PST. It carried the latest batch of satellites for Iridium Communications. (SpaceX via AP)

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.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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