Pentagon mum on fate of secret satellite

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Pentagon mum on fate of secret satellite

The Falcon 9 with Zuma kicked off on 8 January 2018 to 04:00 Moscow time from the cosmodrome on Cape Canaveral. "We can not comment on classified missions".

SpaceX launched the mission, codenamed Zuma, on Sunday from Cape Canaveral, Florida, with its Falcon 9 rocket, aiming to deliver the satellite into orbit on behalf of a USA defense contractor. The company has already signed contracts to launch commercial missions on the three-core rocket - if the test fire and demonstration flight are successful.

USA media this week reported that the billion-dollar payload did not make it into orbit and was presumed to have been lost.

As for Northrop Grumman, the manufacturer of the Zuma satellite, it simply added "we can not comment on classified missions".

But Shotwell reiterated in a statement Tuesday morning that "after review of all data to date, Falcon 9 did everything correctly on Sunday night". If additional reviews uncover any problems, she said, "we will report it immediately".

Information published that is contrary to this statement is categorically false. A day after White's statement, SpaceX president and chief operating officer, Gwynne Shotwell, was asked about Zuma. The last Corporation in the launch previously collaborated with the Alliance ULA (United Launch Alliance), a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin, not SpaceX.

Northrop Grumman - which provided the satellite for an undisclosed US government entity - said it can not comment on classified missions. As planned, the main engine was cut around two and a half minutes into the launch, and the Falcon 9 split into stage one and stage two.

"Standing down on Zuma mission to take a closer look at data from recent fairing testing for another customer", SpaceX tweeted on November 16.

While the authorities are refraining from discussing the fate of Zuma mission, SpaceX is planning on increasing the feasibility of the rockets to make it reusable like airplanes which can significantly decrease the cost incurred during any mission. Its concepts, including the capture of rockets on drone ship landing pads following a launch, continue to undergo testing. Rep. Mike Rogers, who leads the House Armed Services Strategic Forces subcommittee, added rather bluntly that "space is a risky business", but that his committee will continue to provide oversight for future missions tasked with protecting national security.

Claudia Koerner is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles. Keep up with the BuzzFeed News daily email!

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