United States spy satellite appears lost after SpaceX launch
United States spy satellite appears lost after SpaceX launch
SpaceX president confirms successful launch of government spy satellite Zuma
12 January, 2018, 09:16
This was SpaceX' s third classified mission for the US government, a lucrative customer.
The Wall Street Journal quotes unidentified congressional officials who were briefed on the mission as saying the satellite apparently did not separate from the second stage, and plunged through the atmosphere and burned up. One of the aides told Bloomberg that both the satellite and the rocket's second stage fell into the ocean.
With SpaceX on the verge of launching the Falcon Heavy, the most powerful rocket ever made by a private company (see page 24), it is worth taking a step back to reflect on how Elon Musk's brainchild has changed the industry.Since its inception in 2002, Musk has made a habit of setting lofty goals and achieving them, confounding skeptics.
For its part, SpaceX seems to be shifting the blame away from itself, and said in a statement, "We do not comment on missions of this nature; but as of right now reviews of the data indicate Falcon 9 performed nominally".
But SpaceX suggested that it was not at fault, telling ABC News its rocket, named Falcon 9, "did everything correctly".
An article in Wired said that Northrop Grumman provided the adapter to mate Zuma to the Falcon 9. Meanwhile, theories are emerging that the United States government-backed Zuma was a satellite meant to monitor or intercept nuclear activities by North Korea.
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The satellite launch was SpaceX's third national security mission, and another step toward potentially high-paying contracts through the Department of Defense, Ars Technica. Questions remained about which national security agency the satellite would have served, as well as its fate.
The company has not said when exactly the rocket's engines will fire.
Originally scheduled for a November launch, Zuma was delayed by potential concern about another mission's payload fairing, the shell on top that protects a satellite during launch.
Iridium is one of SpaceX's largest commercial satellite customers, with four launches in the past 12 months from Vandenberg Air Force Base on California's central coast and four upcoming launches listed on SpaceX's manifest. In 2017, SpaceX completed 18 launches. If additional reviews uncover any problems, she said, "we will report it immediately".
SpaceX hasn't said why the static fire test was pushed back. It could majorly affect the future business prospects of the company SpaceX associated with the defense, explained the defense analyst at the Lexington Institute, Loren Thompson.
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The reports come after months of mixed messages and dozens of shifts in the U.S.'s stance on North Korea. Trump has repeatedly insulted the North Korean leader, describing him as mad and a " rocket man ".
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Even worse, an fantastic 57 percent of respondents said Trump is "not fit for office" and 69 percent said he isn't "level-headed". Quinnipiac said the poll surveyed 1,106 voters nationwide and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.
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