SpaceX Says Its Rocket Performed As Planned Amid Lost Satellite Rumors

SpaceX Launch

Mystery surrounding top secret satellite comes at bad time for SpaceX as Boeing venture readies launch

Earlier in the day, SpaceX founder Elon Musk shared photos of the nighttime launch on Twitter.

On its website, SpaceX says it has more than 70 upcoming missions on its launch manifest, which could take several years. Subsequently, no one got to see the separation of the nose cone, or watch the satellite embedded within being deployed into orbit.

There are conflicting reports about what may have happened. The Journal cited government and industry officials who were briefed on the mission and said the satellite didn't separate and plunged back into the atmosphere. The satellite was lost, one of the congressional aides said, and the other said both the satellite and the second-stage satellite fell into the ocean after the failure. The satellite is presumed to be a "total loss", according to unnamed US officials interviewed by Bloomberg. "National security payloads are a very important potential market for SpaceX".

A SpaceX representative told Business Insider, "We do not comment on missions of this nature, but as of right now reviews of the data indicate Falcon 9 performed nominally". "If we or others find otherwise based on further review, we will report it immediately", SpaceX Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell said in an emailed statement. Information published that is contrary to this statement is categorically false.

A military satellite launched by Elon Musk's Space Exploration Technologies Corp. hasn't been spotted in orbit by the US Strategic Command, creating a mystery about the fate of the classified payload and doubts about whether the mission was a success. And indeed, as Shotwell made clear, the incident has not prompted any launch delays or a review of the company's launch systems.

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According to Shotwell, data already reviewed has showed that "no design, operational or other changes are needed" that would impact further launches. Falcon Heavy has been rolled out to launchpad LC-39A for a static fire later this week, to be followed shortly thereafter by its maiden flight.

Successful landing of the first-stage. On September 1, 2016 a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket exploded while preparing to test fire its engines, destroying the Amos 6 communications satellite atop the rocket that was to be used by Facebook. According to the LA Times a spokesperson for Grumman declined to provide an explanation and said, "This is a classified mission". SpaceX says it did what it was supposed to do - deliver a satellite into its intended orbit. But SpaceX is confident that there is no issue with their Falcon 9 booster and the rocket's upper stage successfully carried the Zuma satellite into space. "We can not comment on classified missions".

However, SpaceX seems to be distancing itself from the alleged failure.

The secret US government Zuma satellite, and little information about what happened to it has been released. Normally SpaceX provides this adaptor, so if this is the part that failed, the SpaceX statement is technically correct. Few details about the satellite are officially known besides its codename "Zuma", not even which government agency meant to use the satellite nor for what objective.

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