Top-Secret Zuma Spacecraft Blasts Off on First SpaceX Mission of 2018

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral under a veil of darkness Sunday night, both literally and figuratively with launch occurring at 1:00 UTC Monday morning, carrying into orbit the top-secret Zuma spacecraft which, from a public perspective, has all traits of a black project.

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2017 Space Launch Statistics

The year 2017 saw a total of 90 known orbital launch attempts from seven nations and space ports in eight different countries. 2017 had the second most orbital launch attempts of any year in the current century, short of 92 launches in 2014 and showing a slight increase from 2016 that had 85 known launch attempts.

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Zenit Rocket Rumbles Off with Angola’s 1st ComSat in Rare Russian-Ukrainian Space Cooperation

The thunder of a Zenit rocket returned to Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome Tuesday night for the first time in two years as the Russian-Ukrainian booster made its long-awaited return to lift Angola’s first communications satellite into Geostationary Orbit.

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China Closes 2017 with Third Yaogan-30 Triplet Launch for Electronic Intelligence-Gathering

Two days after placing an Earth-imaging satellite into orbit, China was in action again on Monday for the country’s fourth launch of the month and the final expected Chinese mission in 2017, involving a Long March 2C rocket lifting the third group of Yaogan-30 electromagnetic-sensing satellites into orbit.

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Second LKW “Land Survey Satellite” Launched by Chinese Long March 2D Rocket

China sent the second satellite of the LKW constellation into orbit on Saturday via a Long March 2D rocket, coming less than three weeks after the first LKW satellite reached orbit in what observers suspected was the first launch in a new series of reconnaissance spacecraft flying under the cover of land surveying missions.

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Japanese H-IIA Rocket Fires Into Orbit with Climate Change Satellite & Super-Low Altitude Testbed

Japan’s H-IIA rocket leapt off its sea-side launch pad on Tanegashima Island at 10:26 a.m. local time, 1:26 UTC on Saturday, soaring into orbit with a high-profile climate observation satellite and a technology demonstration spacecraft set for a mission orbiting the edge of the atmosphere to develop previously unused orbital real estate.

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Falcon 9 Closes Record Year with 4th Iridium Launch, 1st Stage Disposal Gathers Flight Data

A flight-proven Falcon 9 rocket lit up the evening sky over California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base on Friday to deploy ten more Iridium-NEXT communications satellites to take the largest satellite constellation upgrade ever undertaken across the halfway point to the finish line.

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Soyuz Rocket Braves Freezing Temperatures, Sends Next Space Station Crew to Orbit

Three crewmen from Russia, the U.S. and Japan blasted off in freezing temperatures on Sunday to set sail on a two-day rendezvous with the International Space Station to kick off a half-year mission living and working in space to conduct world-class science and outfit the orbital outpost for operations heading into the next decade.

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“Sooty” Falcon 9 Lifts Flight-Proven Dragon into Orbit, 1st Stage Aces 2nd Land-Based Return

Sporting a sooty attire from a previous voyage, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket successfully lifted the fourth Dragon mission of 2017 to the International Space Station into orbit on Friday to deliver science gear, systems hardware, crew supplies and two external payloads

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Ariane 5 Closes 2017 with Four-Satellite Delivery for European Galileo Navigation System

Europe’s Ariane 5 rocket lifted off from the Guiana Space Center on Tuesday on its second mission in support of the Galileo Navigation Satellite System, aiming to add the next four members to the growing constellation set to reach operational strength in 2018 to begin offering global navigation services.

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Chinese Long March 3B Lifts AlcomSat-1 Dual-Purpose Communications Satellite for Algeria

China was in action again on Sunday, launching a Long March 3B rocket carrying the Chinese-built AlcomSat-1 communications satellite for operation by the Algerian Space Agency as a dual-purpose spacecraft for civilian and military communications.

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Soyuz Returns to Flight with Lotos-S1 Electronic Intelligence Satellite

Coming on the heels of a failed launch from the Vostochny Cosmodrome earlier in the week, Russia successfully launched a Soyuz 2-1B rocket from the country’s prime military launch site at Plesetsk, placing the Lotos-S1 No. 803 electronic intelligence-gathering satellite

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Soyuz/Fregat Suffer First Russian Launch Failure of 2017 with Meteor Weather Satellite & MicroSats

Russia suffered its first launch failure of 2017 on Tuesday on the second Soyuz mission carried out from the new Vostochny Cosmodrome in the country’s far east, claiming the loss of the Meteor-M 2-1 weather satellite and an international assortment of small satellites.

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Second Yaogan-30 Reconnaissance Satellite Trio Blasts off on Chinese Long March 2C Rocket

China was in action for the second time this week on Friday with the launch of a trio of Yaogan-30 satellites atop a Long March 2C rocket to join a growing constellation of what are believed to be electronic intelligence-gathering satellites residing in non-synchronous Low Earth Orbits 600 Kilometers in altitude.

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Second-To-Last Delta II Successfully Delivers JPSS-1 Weather Satellite to Orbit

The second-to-last Delta II rocket lit up the night over California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base in the early hours on Saturday, taking to the skies with the JPSS-1 Weather Satellite for NASA and NOAA, set to become America’s primary meteorological spacecraft in Polar Orbit.

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