SpaceX will attempt its first launch of 2018 later today, with a two-hour launch window opening at 8 PM EST (5 PM PST), with a backup launch window set for tomorrow at the same time. The launch was originally planned for late last year, but was pushed due to SpaceX wanted to review data related to fairing used in the launch.
The payload for the launch is the ‘Zuma’ spacecraft, a top-secret spacecraft for an undisclosed U.S. government customer, commissioned by Northrop Grumman on their behalf. That’s about all we know about Zuma, besides that it’s targeting an insertion position somewhere in low Earth orbit.
SpaceX will use the Falcon 9 to launch Zuma (not the Falcon Heavy it’s also prepping for a launch, likely sometime this month, also at Cape Canaveral in Florida where the Zuma mission will depart from).
The launch today will also include a recovery attempt, with SpaceX attempting to land the Falcon 9 first stage booster back at SpaceX’s LZ-1 landing pad at Cape Canaveral.
SpaceX’s live webcast of the Zuma launch will likely begin around 15 minutes prior to the opening of the launch window, or at around 7:45 PM EST (4:45 PST).