gpolit.com
gpolit.com January 19, 2018


Lawmakers look into SpaceX launch that ended with lost satellite

11 January 2018, 03:14 | Camille Rivera

Watch Elon Musk’s SpaceX launch the classified payload for the U.S. government referred to by code name Zuma

Watch Elon Musk’s SpaceX launch the classified payload for the U.S. government referred to by code name Zuma

A highly classified U.S. spy satellite is missing after a SpaceX launch from Florida on Sunday, The Wall Street Journal has reported.

"After review of all data to date, Falcon 9 did everything correctly on Sunday night", Shotwell said.

Zuma, a top-secret government payload launched by SpaceX, reportedly crashed to Earth on Sunday night. "We can not comment on classified missions".

So if there was a problem, who's at fault?

"If we or others find otherwise based on further review, we will report it immediately", she said. One of the aides told Bloomberg that both the satellite and the rocket's second stage fell into the ocean. Government and industry officials have said that the payload failed to separate from the second stage of the rocket and plunged back into the atmosphere. In the static fire test, SpaceX engineers will ignite all 27 of the heavy-lift rocket's engines almost simultaneously for the first time, holding the rocket down on the launch pad while they do. "This is a classified mission", a spokesperson told NBC News.

While the landing was nearly ideal, the company did not go on to confirm that the mission was a success, at least officially, according to Ars Technica. On Monday, Ars began to hear discussion from sources that the mysterious Zuma spacecraft-the objective of which was never specified, nor which USA military or spy agency had backed it-may not have survived. If it turns out that a glitch with SpaceX's rocket is responsible for the apparent loss, SpaceX's busy launch schedule for 2018 could face disruption - with possible loss of revenues.

As it usually does for classified launches, Loren Grush reports forThe Verge, SpaceX censored coverage of the launch, cutting its livestream prior to nose cone separation that would reveal the payload.

United Launch Alliance, the joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Boeing created more than a decade ago to launch sensitive satellites for the Pentagon and intelligence community, has always been under fire from Elon Musk's SpaceX, the tenacious upstart that plowed its way into the market by waging war in Washington, D.C.

"The first statement by SpaceX was that the failure to achieve orbit was not theirs", so there's no reason so far to question the company's planned participation in NASA space projects, Sen. "Info blackout renders any conclusion - launcher issue?"

The company has been preparing to launch its new Falcon Heavy rocket, which is made up of three Falcon 9 engine cores.

"I think the rocket itself is considered an extremely reliable vehicle", he said.

The launch was SpaceX's first in what is due to be a busy year.

"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", Shotwell added.

SpaceX competes for military launches with United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin Corp, which was the sole provider for the Pentagon until Musk began a campaign in Congress and the courts challenging what he called an unfair monopoly.

This article was originally published at 10:20 a.m.



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