SpaceX says rocket performed OK in secret satellite launch

SpaceX launch SpaceX Project Zuma Elon Musk US government mission SpaceX Falcon 9 Tesla Boeing SpaceX Falcon Heavy Lockheed Martin classified missions

SpaceX launch SpaceX Project Zuma Elon Musk US government mission SpaceX Falcon 9 Tesla Boeing SpaceX Falcon Heavy Lockheed Martin classified missions

The company only said it's classified and wouldn't comment.

Needless to say, all this confusion, not to mention the secretive nature of the mission, is bound to lead to conspiratorial theories - that that satellite was in fact delivered successfully, and that this is all a rouse to hide the fact that a very expensive spy satellite is now in orbit.

SpaceX defended its rocket performance during the weekend launch of a secret US satellite.

"For clarity: after review of all data to date, Falcon 9 did everything correctly on Sunday night", SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said in a statement emailed to HuffPost.

"If we or others find otherwise based on further review, we will report it immediately", Shotwell said. Northrop Grumman is refusing to provide any information, telling publications that it's not able to comment on classified missions.

But, according to the Journal, the satellite failed to reach orbit atop a Space Exploration Technologies Corp. rocket.

Strangely - and in yet another apparent contradiction - US Strategic Command told Bloomberg that its not tracking any new satellites.

SpaceX launch SpaceX Project Zuma Elon Musk US government mission SpaceX Falcon 9 Tesla Boeing SpaceX Falcon Heavy Lockheed Martin classified missions
The company has said it plans about 30 missions in 2018 after completing a record 18 last year

However, rumors continue to suggest that the Zuma mission itself has possibly failed. Both SpaceX and Northrup are casting blame on each other, Ars Technica reported, citing a source familiar with discussions on Capitol Hill.

While conspiracy-minded individuals have been quick to note a spy satellite suddenly disappearing seems perfectly in line with what a spy satellite might be created to do, McDowell says that's unlikely.

The spacecraft, called Zuma, launched at 8 p.m. Sunday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

The fact that SpaceX says the Falcon Heavy launch will move forward as scheduled also indicates there were no issues with the rocket.

The Zuma indent won't impact the schedule of SpaceX's upcoming launches, including the maiden flight of Falcon Heavy, the company said. But SpaceX is so cheap relative to its competitors that the scrubbing is unlikely to derail the relationship. ULA, meanwhile, maintained that responsibility for national security satellites that cost hundreds of millions of dollars and help guide precision bombs and conduct surveillance should not just go to the lowest bidder. And that means following the SpaceX model. Unnamed US officials told NBC that Zuma was a "write-off" and had either broken up or plunged into the Atlantic.

"Right now, the average rate of spaceflight is about 1 launch every 4 days. If we want to make space travel as safe as air travel, we need to make it much cheaper".

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