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US Spy Satellite Believed Lost After SpaceX Mission Fails

14 January, 2018, 00:14 | Author: Melinda Barton
  • Запущенный SpaceX секретный спутник упал в океан

The company defended the performance of the Falcon 9 in response to media reports that the mission was a failure and that the spy satellite it launched fell into the ocean.

This was SpaceX' s third classified mission for the USA government, a lucrative customer.

The company's live webcast did not show video coverage of the Zuma spacecraft after it separated from the first stage of the rocket, but confirmed that the fairings deployed and the payload was well on its way to low-Earth orbit. The Zuma payload was contracted for launch by Northrop Grumman for the US government, Northrop then selected SpaceX as the carrier of the payload.

On Monday, lawmakers were informed that the mission was "a total loss" and the payload plummeted back into the atmosphere when it failed to detach from the rocket, sources told the Wall Street Journal.

"For clarity: after review of all data to date, Falcon 9 did everything correctly on Sunday night", said Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX's president and chief operating officer. If we or others find otherwise based on further review, we will report it immediately. The Zuma payload is believed to have fallen back through the Earth's atmosphere due to the failure to separate, as the second stage of the rocket is created to fall back to earth and burn up on re-entry. However, SpaceX censored critical portions of the launch, including the separation of the nose cone surrounding the top-secret Zuma satellite, and the satellite's actual deployment into earth's orbit.

"We have chose to stand down and take a closer look at data from recent fairing testing for another customer", said SpaceX communications director John Taylor at the time.


Information published that is contrary to this statement is categorically false.

The Falcon 9 booster successfully made it back to earth under its own power. The mission, backed by the USA government, has become the talk of the town because neither the agency behind the liftoff nor the Pentagon are taking responsibility or sharing details about it post the liftoff.

Teams will watch closely as the three-core launch vehicle is loaded with propellant at pad 39A on Thursday, then briefly fire its 27 Merlin engines for the first time.

"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", added Shotwell.

Its Falcon 9 rocket "performed nominally", it said. "We are also preparing for an F9 launch for SES and the Luxembourg Government from SLC-40 in three weeks".

Falcon Heavy is created to take heavier payloads to higher orbits, opening SpaceX's manifest to new capabilities.

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