SpaceX’s most recent launch of the multi-billion dollar highly secretive Zuma spy satellite using the Falcon Heavy rocket has ended in disaster, and is “presumed to be a total loss after it failed to reach orbit.”
In an emailed statement, SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell said that the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket took off from Cape Canaveral Air Force station in Florida on Sunday, and “did everything correctly.”
For clarity: after review of all data to date, Falcon 9 did everything correctly on Sunday night. If we or others find otherwise based on further review, we will report it immediately. Information published that is contrary to this statement is categorically false.
Due to the classified nature of the payload, no further comment is possible.
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. Falcon Heavy has been rolled out to launchpad LC-39A for a static fire later this week, to be followed shortly thereafter by its maiden flight. We are also preparing for an F9 launch for SES and the Luxembourg Government from SLC-40 in three weeks.
Zuma satellite from @northropgrumman may be dead in orbit after separation from @SpaceX Falcon 9, sources say. Info blackout renders any conclusion – launcher issue? Satellite-only issue? — impossible to draw. pic.twitter.com/KggCGNC5Si
— Peter B. de Selding (@pbdes) January 8, 2018
— ABC News (@ABC) January 10, 2018
Bloomberg, on the other hand, reported that the second-stage booster section of the rocket failed, while Northrop Grumman spokesman Tim Paynter said that while Grumman was commissioned by the Defense Department (DoD) to choose the launch contractor, he could not comment on classified missions. Paynter’s comments were echoed by Grumman communications director Lon Rains, who told The Verge “This is a classified mission. We cannot comment on classified missions.”
As ZeroHedge reported last night, the mystery grew due to the secretive nature of the mission, and SpaceX did not show the entire Zuma mission during its livestream. Typically for its commercial flights, the company will show the launch all the way through to the payload’s deployment into orbit. However, the Zuma webcast did not broadcast the separation of the nose cone, which surrounds the satellite during launch, nor did it show the satellite being deployed. SpaceX has censored its livestreams like this before with other classified government payloads that the company has launched. But usually SpaceX or the government agency its working with will confirm a successful mission afterward. So doubts started circulating late Sunday night when neither SpaceX nor Northrop Grumman — the manufacturer of the Zuma satellite — confirmed if the launch was successful.
We’ll probably never get a straight answer. Who knows – maybe the satellite is doing just fine and this is all a ruse.If you enjoy the content at iBankCoin, please follow us on Twitter