SpaceX president confirms successful launch of government spy satellite Zuma

Lucy Hill
January 14, 2018

Ground crews took steps this week to prepare for next Falcon 9 launch, set for no earlier than January 30 with a telecom satellite for SES and the Luxembourg government, as SpaceX officials stressed their rocket was not to blame for the rumored loss of a mysterious US government payload after liftoff Sunday. However, post the liftoff there is no information about whether the mission was a success or a failure, and what was the objective behind sending the rocket through a private collaboration.

At neighboring Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, meanwhile, a military missile warning satellite was hoisted atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket ahead of a planned liftoff next Thursday. A second engine was meant to propel stage two-which carried Zuma-into low-Earth orbit.

An expensive, highly classified USA spy satellite is presumed to be a total loss after it failed to reach orbit atop a Space Exploration Technologies Corp. rocket on Sunday, according to industry and government officials. As reports began to bubble Monday that the Zuma satellite may have plunged back toward Earth, the company issued a statement: "We do not comment on missions of this nature; but, as of right now, reviews of the data indicate Falcon 9 performed nominally". If additional reviews uncover any problems, she said, "we will report it immediately".

On Tuesday, SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell released an even stronger statement and pushed back against reports that a second-stage malfunction may have been to blame, saying that "after review of all data to date, Falcon 9 did everything correctly on Sunday night". 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.

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Information published that is contrary to this statement is categorically false. Musk has said BFR could be used for missions ranging from taking satellites to low-Earth orbit to colonizing Mars. Later, the team will closed the satellite up inside the payload fairing of Falcon 9.

SpaceX now targets 5 10 p.m. Saturday for its Falcon Heavy test fire, according to News 6 partner Florida Today. "We are also preparing for an F9 launch for SES and the Luxembourg Government from SLC-40 in three weeks". "We can not comment on classified missions".

Also, the future flights of SpaceX will remain scheduled as they were.

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

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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