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SpaceX launches secret satellite tv for pc on first flight of yr
12 January 2018, 03:09 | Dale Webster
SpaceX president confirms successful launch of government spy satellite Zuma
SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk's goal is to ideal the technique so that rockets can one day become just as reusable as airplanes, thereby lowering the cost of space travel.
The highly classified and expensive government satellite launched by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral has reportedly been destroyed.
The Falcon 9 rocket was able to make a successful powered landing back on the ground after separating from the upper stage. However, these censored bits are par for the course when it comes to SpaceX's missions for the government.
Northrop Grumman Corp, the company which made the satellite (and also selected SpaceX for the launch) refused to comment since all the information related to it is classified. As far as we can tell from reporting by both the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg, the Zuma satellite failed to successfully separate from the upper stage.
The satellite for the secret mission was built by Northrop Grumman Corp. This could have resulted in the satellite tumbling back to Earth.
For clarity: after review of all data to date, Falcon 9 did everything correctly on Sunday night. That would have been about 1? orbits and normal for a second stage.
That means something made it into orbit and went around at least once, though it doesn't necessarily mean the satellite is still there. Strapped to a Falcon 9 rocket, the craft carried a secret U.S. Government payload into orbit around Earth.
Caceres predicted SpaceX will probably proceed "with business as usual and try to keep with their very aggressive launch schedule".
The Defense Department and the Air Force have repeatedly referred questions to SpaceX. That broke up a longtime and lucrative monopoly held by a joint venture between Lockheed Martin Corp. and Boeing Co. known as United Launch Alliance, which has had 100 percent mission success in its 123 launches. The company later said it had cleared the issue.
"SpaceX is saying "'everything performed as expected, it's not our fault,"' a senior analyst and director of space studies with the Teal Group, said.
"I think the rocket itself is considered an extremely reliable vehicle", he said.
Last year was a banner year for the private space company with 18 launches.
On its website, SpaceX says it has more than 70 upcoming missions on its launch manifest, which could take several years.
Northrup Grumman, the maker of the payload, said it was for the U.S. government and would be delivered to low-Earth orbit, but offered no other details.
SpaceX's new, powerful rocket, the Falcon Heavy, was at its launch pad at NASA's Kennedy Space Center on Tuesday, awaiting an engine test-firing sometime this week. Another Falcon 9, meanwhile, is scheduled to fly in three weeks with a communication satellite for Luxembourg.
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