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SpaceX launches secret satellite Zuma on first flight of year

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX has launched a secret satellite code-named Zuma on its first flight of the new year.

The unmanned Falcon rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral on Sunday night, carrying the satellite toward an undisclosed orbit.

Image: SpaceX launch
SpaceX launches a secretive U.S. government payload known as Zuma at Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Sunday. Douglas Curran / AFP - Getty Images

SpaceX ended launch commentary five minutes into the flight because of 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.

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