It's not official, but sources say the secretive Zuma satellite was lost

Secret US spy satellite may be lost in space after SpaceX launch

SpaceX defended its rocket performance during the weekend launch of a secret US satellite, responding Tuesday to media reports that the satellite codenamed Zuma was lost.

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

She went on to say the classified nature of the cargo kept her from saying anything else.

A military satellite launched by Elon Musk's Space Exploration Technologies Corp. hasn't been spotted in orbit by the US Strategic Command, creating a mystery about the fate of the classified payload and doubts about whether the mission was a success.

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", Shotwell said.

SpaceX's statement muddied assertions of a failure in the second stage of the Falcon 9, as a USA official and two congressional aides familiar with the launch had said. Earlier in the day, SpaceX founder Elon Musk shared photos of the nighttime launch on Twitter. Commentary during a webcast of the launch appeared to confirm that the fairings housing the payload were successfully deployed. 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.

SpaceX responded to the reports and defended its rocket performance during the weekend launch. 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.

"Normally when you buy a rocket launch, you've paid for "the payload adapter on the rocket final stage pops the satellite off at the end".


The US Strategic Command had reported that it wasn't tracking new satellites, at a time when the SpaceX-launched craft was expected to be in orbit.

We spoke to a Northrup Grummam rep by phone, who said: "This is a classified mission".

This was just SpaceX's third national security mission and was seen as critically important in winning further lucrative business from the US Department of Defense. A government official says the mission is a "write-off".

In three weeks, the company has another Falcon 9 launch planned from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex 40 as the company aims to put a communication satellite for Luxembourg into space.

According to an Instagram post in December, Musk said the first payload will be a red Tesla Roadster playing David Bowie's Space Oddity on a billion-year elliptical Mars orbit.

But the unknown dominated this mission. 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.

The loss of a government payload comes at a bad time for SpaceX, which was founded by Elon Musk, who is CEO of both the privately-held rocket company and electric vehicle maker Tesla.

The Air Force's 45th Space Wing also congratulated the company in a tweet: "What an incredible way to start off 2018 w/the world's 1st successful launch and land of this year!"

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