SpaceX president confirms successful launch of government spy satellite Zuma

SpaceX president confirms successful launch of government spy satellite Zuma

Rumors associated with the same stated that the mission lost control during the second stage of separation from the rocket and fell back into the Earth. However, the agency confirmed that the Falcon 9 performed as it was supposed to after going through the data review of the mission. The company chose SpaceX as the launch provider, noting late previous year that it took "great care to ensure the most affordable and lowest risk scenario for Zuma".

Northrop Grumman Corp, the company which made the satellite (and also selected SpaceX for the launch) refused to comment since all the information related to it is classified.

As reported by the Wall Street Journal, the satellite failed to separate properly during the second stage of the mission and dived back into the Earth's atmosphere which caused the failure of the designated mission.

News reports said the satellite, named Zuma, may have plunged back toward Earth.

This was SpaceX's third classified mission for the United States government. The rocket's second stage propels the satellite into orbit. But Shotwell reiterated in a statement Tuesday morning that "after review of all data to date, Falcon 9 did everything correctly on Sunday night". If additional reviews uncover any problems, she said, "we will report it immediately".

A spokesman for Northrop Grumman Corp., which built the satellite, said Monday: "This is a classified mission".

True to form, SpaceX tweeted each part of the launch and landing.

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"The 1st statement by SpaceX was that the failure to achieve orbit was not theirs" so there's no reason so far to question the company's planned participation in NASA space projects, Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) a former astronaut and the top Democrat on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transport Committee, said Wednesday before being briefed. Rep. Mike Rogers, who leads the House Armed Services Strategic Forces subcommittee, added rather bluntly that "space is a risky business", but that his committee will continue to provide oversight for future missions tasked with protecting national security.

On the other hand, Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), was not as lenient on SpaceX.

"The record shows they have promise, but they've had issues as a vendor", Shelby said Wednesday, referring to SpaceX. Shelby is a strong supporter of United Launch Alliance, which has operations in his state. "United Launch, knock on wood, they've had an outstanding record".

It should be noted that that the Zuma mission was originally slated to blast off in November 2017.

During a livestream of Sunday's launch, SpaceX said it got successful confirmation that the fairing - the clamshell-like covering for payloads at the tip of the rocket - did deploy.

Is that same payload fairing issue what doomed the Zuma mission earlier this week?

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