Who's to blame for SpaceX satellite loss?

11 January, 2018, 00:25 | Author: Devin Moran
  • Reuters

SpaceX's 23-minute webcast of the event Sunday evening included the Falcon 9 launch and the rocket's first-stage recovery on land in Florida.

"After review of all data to date, Falcon 9 did everything correctly Sunday night".

Asked to comment, SpaceX - which is based in Hawthorne and whose full name is Space Exploration Technologies Corp. - issued a statement Monday afternoon: "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", she said in a statement. All that is known about it publicly is that it was built by Northrop Grumman for a USA government customer, but not which agency ordered it.

SpaceX declined to comment further, citing the mission's classified status, as did Northrup Grumman, which manufactured the Zuma satellite and hired SpaceX as the launch contractor.

On its website, SpaceX says it has more than 70 upcoming missions on its launch manifest, which could take several years.

Musk has also said the first launch, expected by the end of January, will use previously flown rocket outer cores, as SpaceX continues to make the push for reusable rockets to help lower launch costs and keep it competitive against United Launch Alliance, a Boeing- Lockheed Martin ( LMT ) joint venture. Anthony Capaccio and Dana Hull reporting for Bloomberg cite a USA official and two congressional aides reporting the launch failed, with one aide stating that the satellite and second-stage rocket fell back into the ocean.

Originally scheduled for a November launch, Zuma was delayed by potential concern about another mission's payload fairing, the shell on top that protects a satellite during launch.

This was SpaceX's third classified mission for the US government, AP reported.

According to an Instagram post in December, Musk said the first payload will be a red Tesla Roadster playing David Bowie's Space Oddity on a billion-year elliptical Mars orbit. "We can not comment on a classified mission", he said.

"It means you can fly and refly an orbital class booster, which is the most expensive part of the rocket", founder Elon Musk said at the time of the launch.

Shotwell said in a statement that since no rocket changes are warranted for upcoming flights, the company's launch schedule remains on track.

The launch broadcast was cut off shortly after the rocket's nose cone separated, which is standard under secret national security missions. However, rumors are now swirling that SpaceX actually failed the Zuma mission, especially after there was no confirmation that it was a success.

"This is a classified program", Northrop Grumman Communications Director Lon Rains told HuffPost in an emailed statement. The thrust its 27 engines can produce is equivalent to 18 Boeing ( BA ) 747s and makes it two times more powerful than any other rocket operating today, according to SpaceX.

A USA official and two congressional aides, all familiar with the launch, said on condition of anonymity that the second-stage of SpaceX's Falcon 9 booster rocket failed.



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