On Sunday night SpaceX launched the Zuma satellite into space.
The mysterious SpaceX Falcon 9 Zuma mission is said to be a failure, as its mysterious satellite is apparently nowhere to be found.
SpaceX's review so far indicates that 'no design, operational or other changes are needed, ' Shotwell said. Northrop Grumman declined comment, citing inability to comment on classified missions.
SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell pushed back against reports that her company's Falcon 9 rocket may have malfunctioned during Sunday's launch of a classified spy satellite.
"If we or others find otherwise based on further review, we will report it immediately", Shotwell said. Defense company Northrop Grumman requested the launch in behalf of the government, further casting a veil of secrecy on the missions. As it is a secret mission, neither SpaceX nor Northrop Grumman, the manufacturer of the Zuma satellite, have disclosed any information about top-secret Zuma mission.
Due to the highly classified nature of the payload, however, it's unclear what exactly happened. If Zuma is observed in orbit or not, the true story of what happened during the launch will likely remain shrouded in mystery for years.
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Musk has also said the first launch, expected by the end of January, will use previously flown rocket outer cores, as SpaceX continues to make the push for reusable rockets to help lower launch costs and keep it competitive against United Launch Alliance, a Boeing- Lockheed Martin ( LMT ) joint venture.
The secretive nature of the Zuma payload makes reliable details about the mission hard to come by or verify. Anthony Capaccio and Dana Hull reporting for Bloomberg cite a U.S. official and two congressional aides reporting the launch failed, with one aide stating that the satellite and second-stage rocket fell back into the ocean.
This was SpaceX's third classified mission for the USA government, AP reported. SpaceX, along with Boeing Co, also has a contract with NASA to fly astronauts to the International Space Station as part of the "Commercial Crew" program, with the first crucial test flight scheduled for the second quarter. "We can not comment on a classified mission", he said. "National security payloads are a very important potential market for SpaceX". 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.
Elon Musk tweeted that when it does lift off, the company plans to land all three first stages back on Earth, with two cores returning to land and a third to a droneship out in the Atlantic. However, rumors are now swirling that SpaceX actually failed the Zuma mission, especially after there was no confirmation that it was a success. The company doesn't anticipate any impact on its upcoming launch schedule, including a Falcon 9 mission in three weeks.
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. After a rigorous Air Force review, SpaceX was certified in 2015 to compete for military launches. It did stream the successful landing of the Falcon 9 first stage rocket booster after it completed its primary mission.