Rumors hint secret Zuma satellite is a total loss

Rumors hint secret Zuma satellite is a total loss

SpaceX launched a classified, multibillion-dollar spy satellite for the US government on Sunday ― and then something went wrong.

The satellite, code-named Zuma, failed to reach orbit and fell back into Earth's atmosphere after separating from the Falcon 9 rocket.

The company's President and COO Gwynne Shotwell said in a statement: "After review of all data to date, Falcon 9 did everything correctly on Sunday night".

Ken Kremer, founder of SpaceUpClose.com, says there needs to be accountability for the presumably lost billion dollar satellite. But concerns soon emerged that something had gone wrong when neither SpaceX or Northrop Grumman - the manufacturer of the spy satellite - confirmed a successful deployment. The company only said it's classified and wouldn't comment.

It's important to point out that the Falcon 9's reusable first-stage successfully landed in Florida, so we know SpaceX got that part right. "We can not comment on classified programs".

During the launch, SpaceX cut off the broadcast after confirmation that the rockets nose cone had separated a few minutes after launch.

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Falcon Heavy-a modified variant of the Falcon 9 and equal to approximately eighteen 747 aircraft at full power-is due to be rolled out at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, for static fire tests later this week.

In a statement, the Department of Defense said, "As a matter of policy we do not comment on classified missions".

The Zuma indent won't impact the schedule of SpaceX's upcoming launches, including the maiden flight of Falcon Heavy, the company said.

It was not immediately clear if the failure of this mission was due to problems with the SpaceX rocket, or with the Zuma spacecraft.

Even more so, the US Strategic Command added an entry to its Space-Track catalogue of artificial objects orbiting the planet, indicating that the new satellite was able to make at least one orbit. Other possibilities include the satellite not powering up at separation (which means it's still in orbit, but dead) or that Zuma accidentally oriented itself in an orbit that sent it plummeting towards Earth.

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