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

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

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

On Sunday night SpaceX launched the Zuma satellite into space.

According to a source, the satellite did not reach the designated altitude and instead, fell back down, along with the expended second stage of the SpaceX rocket.

The mission-referred to by the code name Zuma-took off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida Sunday on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

"I don't think we can know", Ketcham said. Gwynne Shotwell, president and chief operating officer of SpaceX that if their company or others find otherwise based on further reviews, they would report the same immediately. "Due to the classified nature of the payload, no further comment is possible", said Shotwell.

SpaceX on Tuesday defended the performance of one of its rockets used to launch a U.S. spy satellite that is believed to have been lost after failing to reach orbit, adding that no changes were anticipated to its upcoming launch schedule.

A secret spacecraft launched by a SpaceX rocket on Sunday failed to enter a stable orbit and was lost.

SpaceX will still execute its scheduled "static fire" test of the Falcon Heavy rocket at another Cape Canaveral launchpad, Shotwell said.

Other reports have come in suggesting that while the Zuma satellite made it to LEO, it may have failed to come online.

But the unknown dominated this mission.

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For years, the company has been in a heated battle with ULA over lucrative contracts to launch national security payloads, long seen by Musk as a key source of revenue.

SpaceX televised the launch and landing of the first stage, but did not provide coverage of the second stage firing or orbital insertion of the satellite, as it often does, because of the classified nature of the mission. The Falcon Heavy is perhaps the most important rocket ever created by SpaceX, as it is the one planned to be used for missions to the moon and Mars. The launch had been pushed back several times since late 2017, with the past week's extreme weather on the East Coast contributing to the most recent delay.

SpaceX launched two other national security missions a year ago: a satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office in May and the Pentagon's autonomous space plane known as the X-37B in September.

The private rocket company typically broadcasts an entire satellite deployment via its livestream, but not for classified missions such as this one. The webcast then concluded.

Lawmakers said they will receive classified briefings on a secret US government satellite that apparently crashed into the sea after it was launched by Elon Musk's Space Exploration Technologies Corp.

SpaceX - which was founded and led by Musk, who also heads the electric-vehicle manufacturer Tesla Inc - is slated to demonstrate the maiden flight of Falcon Heavy, a larger and more powerful rocket, later this month. Additionally, a SpaceX rocket carrying supply missions to the International Space Station for NASA exploded in 2015.

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 launched a campaign in Congress and the courts challenging what he called an unfair monopoly.

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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