SpaceX Says Its Rocket Performed As Planned Amid Lost Satellite Rumors

Reuters

The launch of the Falcon 9 for the classified Zuma mission, which was repeatedly delayed from its initial target date in November past year, kicked off SpaceX's 2018. The rocket's second stage propels the satellite into orbit.

The secret mission went by the code name Zuma.

Caceres predicted SpaceX will probably proceed "with business as usual and try to keep with their very aggressive launch schedule". An issue with the protective nosecone delayed the mission almost two months. The rocket took off, all looked good from the Cape, and SpaceX landed the rocket.

This is not the first time a payload was lost on a SpaceX mission.

The failure comes at a sensitive time for SpaceX, which has recently been trying to establish itself as a low-priced launcher for Pentagon missions.

There are three main actors in the Zuma story.

A media query to Northrop Grumman, which manufactured the satellite, was not immediately returned Monday. Earlier in the day, SpaceX founder Elon Musk shared photos of the nighttime launch on Twitter. Northrop Grumman, the manufacture, said due to the classified nature of the mission it could not comment.

"We do not comment on missions of this nature; but as of right now reviews of the data indicate Falcon 9 performed nominally", said SpaceX spokesman James Gleeson in an e-mail. If we or others find otherwise based on further review, we will report it immediately. Information published that is contrary to this statement is categorically false.

Reuters reported that an investigation into what went wrong is underway. The satellite was picked up by a cataloging agency.

But Strategic Command aren't the only ones who use radar and telescopes to track objects in orbit. None the less, Zuma is there.

A government official and two congressional aides, all of which are familiar with the matters of the Falcon 9 launch, anonymously said that the second stage of the rocket failed.

There are conflicting reports about what may have happened.

During a livestream of Sunday's launch, SpaceX said it got successful confirmation that the fairing - the clamshell-like covering for payloads at the tip of the rocket - did deploy.

Until government officials are willing to make a public statement about Zuma, its fate will remain a mystery. "We can not comment on classified programs".

Money. This was s a national security mission, with the US taxpayer footing.

As it usually does for classified launches, Loren Grush reports forThe Verge, SpaceX censored coverage of the launch, cutting its livestream prior to nose cone separation that would reveal the payload.

It has been competing with other private companies to launch more military payloads.

We spoke with Dale Ketcham of Space Florida, the state's aerospace and spaceport development authority. "United Launch, knock on wood, they've had an outstanding record".

She said the Falcon Heavy is still scheduled for a static fire test this week and that the company is also preparing for a Falcon 9 launch of a commercial communications satellite in three weeks.

We spoke to a Northrup Grummam rep by phone, who said: "This is a classified mission".

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