Elon Musk's SpaceX Loses 'Zuma' Government Payload

13 January, 2018, 02:09 | Author: Diane Mills
  • SpaceX president confirms successful launch of government spy satellite Zuma

If Zuma did indeed fail, it's possible the payload adapter Northrop Grumman built to deploy the satellite from the rocket itself malfunctioned.

The Zuma mission recently garnered a lot of attention from the media pertaining to the secret mission that it was designed for.

"We are committed to our mission of providing secure satellite communication services for governments and institutions", said Patrick Biewer, GovSat's CEO. It is a more powerful rocket that SpaceX hopes to use for missions to the Moon and Mars.

Northrop Grumman - which provided the satellite for an undisclosed USA government entity - said it can not comment on classified missions.

The expert refers to the publication Wired, which reported that the layout of the payload on the rocket Zuma said the company Northrop Grumman.

That would explain SpaceX's account of a ideal launch, while also squaring with the satellite is a total loss.

Langbroek wrote in a blog post that he believes the image shows the Falcon 9's upper stage dumping excess propellant after a de-orbit burn to drive it back into Earth's atmosphere. If additional reviews uncover any problems, she said, "we will report it immediately".

Elon Musk has announced that the first flight of his company's "Falcon Heavy" rocket will carry a Tesla Roadster - touted as the quickest vehicle in the world with record-setting acceleration, range and performance - into Martian orbit.

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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", said Shotwell.

SpaceX launches Zuma from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on January 7. The company also rarely releases formal statements on the outcome of each launch. The spokesman for the corporation said that the company isn't at liberty to comment on a classified mission.

In the meantime, Falcon Heavy, like its smaller cousin the Falcon 9, will advance SpaceX's goal of cutting launch costs by reusing rockets. To viewers of the live stream, the launch seemed like a success. It was so shrouded in secrecy that the sponsoring government agency was not even identified, as is usually the case.

SpaceX will still execute its scheduled "static fire" test of the Falcon Heavy rocket at another Cape Canaveral launchpad, Shotwell said.

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

A strong showing on Falcon Heavy's first outing will enhance the perception of SpaceX's capabilities and will also contribute to the view of its market value, Christensen said.

But with the mission's classified nature, confirmation of Zuma's fate, and what may have gone wrong, remained elusive. SpaceX had already been approved for flying U.S. government payloads after the company successfully launched the U.S. Air Force's X-47B spacecraft.

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