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SpaceX says rocket worked fine as spy satellite reported lost

SpaceX says rocket worked fine as spy satellite reported lost

SpaceX launched a classified, multibillion-dollar spy satellite for the US government on Sunday ― and then something went wrong. The satellite was destined for low-Earth orbit, Robin Seemangal wrote for Wired late a year ago, and unlike most launches, the satellite manufacturer Northrop Grumman, not SpaceX, supplied the payload adapter used to secure the satellite during launch and release it into orbit.

According to Shotwell, data already reviewed has showed that "no design, operational or other changes are needed" that would impact further launches.

Company president Gwynne Shotwell said the rocket "did everything correctly" and suggestions otherwise are "categorically false", according to the Associated Press.

"There's a long tradition of not commenting on problems with classified missions, unless it blows up in such a way that everyone can see it", said John Logsdon, founder and former director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University.

SpaceX said its Falcon 9 rocket, launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, performed flawlessly. Northrop Grumman made the satellite, which it said was for the government and was destined for low-Earth orbit, but offered no other details.

One possible key to SpaceX's strong defense of its rocket could involve the question of who supplied a key piece of hardware: the payload adapter, which attaches a payload to the rocket. said Northrop Grumman provided the adapter to "mate" Zuma to the Falcon 9. So what happened to Zuma?

The secretive nature of the launch makes it hard to discern additional details. "This is a classified mission", a spokesperson told NBC News. Government and industry officials have said that the payload failed to separate from the second stage of the rocket and plunged back into the atmosphere. And along with Boeing Co., it 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.

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

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

Elon Musk tweeted that when it does lift off, the company plans to land all three first stages back on Earth, with two cores returning to land and a third to a droneship out in the Atlantic.

The massive Falcon Heavy, which has already been staged on a Cape Canaveral launchpad, stands 230 feet tall and consists of three Falcon 9 first-stage cores. However, rumors are now swirling that SpaceX actually failed the Zuma mission, especially after there was no confirmation that it was a success. The company's spokesman Lon Rains said, "This is a classified mission".

The Falcon 9 Zuma mission finally took off, but interestingly, SpaceX's live webcast of the launch was cut off right before the rocket deployed the Zuma payload into orbit.

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