Secret Zuma Satellite Rumored to Be Lost

SpaceX Launch

But SpaceX is confident that there is no issue with their Falcon 9 booster and the rocket's upper stage successfully carried the Zuma satellite into space.

United Launch Alliance, the joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Boeing created more than a decade ago to launch sensitive satellites for the Pentagon and intelligence community, has always been under fire from Elon Musk's SpaceX, the tenacious upstart that plowed its way into the market by waging war in Washington, D.C.

"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", Shotwell said in the statement.

"For clarity: after review of all data to date, Falcon 9 did everything correctly on Sunday night", said Gwynne Shotwell, president and chief operating officer of California-based SpaceX. "We can not comment on classified missions".

The launch of the Falcon 9 for the classified Zuma mission, which was repeatedly delayed from its initial target date in November previous year, kicked off SpaceX's 2018. SpaceX says not it - only that if it or others find out differently, it'll let us know. If SpaceX is sure about the success of its rocket launch, then the question will arise against the Northrop Grumman Corporation that built the billion-dollar Zuma satellite.

Northrop Grumman, the company that built the Zuma payload, told Business Insider in November that the U.S. government tasked it with picking a launch company, and it chose SpaceX. Did something happen to Zuma after separating from the rocket's second stage?

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.


The nature of the mission remains shrouded in mystery.

This was SpaceX's third classified mission for the US government, a lucrative customer. SpaceX, along with Boeing Co., also has a contract with Nasa to fly astronauts to the International Space Station as part of the "Commercial Crew" program, with the first crucial test flight slated for the second quarter. According to the LA Times a spokesperson for Grumman declined to provide an explanation and said, "This is a classified mission".

The launch was SpaceX's first in what is due to be a busy year.

The launch broadcast was cut off shortly after the rocket's nose cone separated, which is standard under secret national security missions.

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.

"This is a classified program", Northrop Grumman Communications Director Lon Rains told HuffPost in an emailed statement.

In short, SpaceX appears to be shrugging its shoulders as it prepares to launch yet another Falcon 9 rocket and its first Mars-capable rocket, Falcon Heavy (a launch vehicle that's essentially three times as powerful as a Falcon 9). After a rigorous Air Force review, SpaceX was certified in 2015 to compete for military launches.

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