Lost in space? Secret SpaceX Zuma satellite a total loss


"Three, two, one, ignition and liftoff", said a SpaceX commentator as the Falcon 9 rocket launched under cover of darkness from Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 8:00 pm (0100 GMT Monday).

Adding to the mystery, the satellite, categorized as United States of America 280, was still listed as a payload on orbit by the US space surveillance system as of Tuesday afternoon, said Laura Grego, a Caltech-trained physicist who is a senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

This was SpaceX' s third classified mission for the USA government, a lucrative customer. And she noted that any reports that the rocket failed are "categorically false".

SpaceX launched two other national security missions a year ago - a and the Pentagon's in September.

SpaceX announced that the launch of the Falcon 9 was in normal mode and the company adheres to a previously agreed schedule launches, in particular in January will be held the first launch of the Falcon heavy Heavу and Falcon 9 launch with telecommunications satellites in the interests of operator SES S. A. However, SpaceX chose to delay the launch to deal with some issues regarding the payload fairing (nose cone).

On Thursday, a day after the Pentagon said the news media should ask SpaceX about mission success, the company's president and chief operating officer, Gwynne Shotwell, appeared at a meeting of scientists and engineers in Houston called The Academy of Medicine, Engineering & Science of Texas.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off Sunday with the US government's mysterious Zuma payload. If true, the spacecraft and rocket likely fell into the Indian Ocean, where the Falcon 9 second stage was to re-enter after releasing Zuma in orbit. "If we or others find otherwise based on further review, we will report it immediately", Shotwell said in the statement.

This article was originally published at 10:20 a.m. The first stage of the rocket in about eight minutes made a successful landing.

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"Since the data reviewed so far indicates that no design, operational or other changes are needed, we do not anticipate any impact on the upcoming launch schedule", she said.

The satellite launch was originally scheduled for November 15, but SpaceX pushed it back to review how the Falcon 9 delivers its payload.

That includes the debut launch of its Falcon Heavy rocket from Kennedy Space Center.

The NRO and military agencies typically acknowledge their ownership of clandestine satellites, even if details about their missions remain under a shroud of secrecy.

One possible key to SpaceX's strong defense of its rocket could involve the question of who supplied a key piece of hardware: the payload adapter, which attaches a payload to the rocket. said Northrop Grumman provided the adapter to "mate" Zuma to the Falcon 9.

The foggy responses by concerned authorities are fueling the fire to rumors and speculations about Zuma mission being a failure. The spokesman for the corporation said that the company isn't at liberty to comment on a classified mission.

A Falcon 9 rocket is set to lift off in February from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California with the Spanish-owned Paz radar imaging satellite, and another Falcon 9 is slated to haul the Hispasat 30W-6 geostationary communications craft to orbit from Cape Canaveral some time in February.