An expensive along with also highly classified US spy satellite launched by Elon Musk’s SpaceX has not been spotted in orbit along with also can be presumed to be lost, reports said Monday.
SpaceX launched the mission, codenamed Zuma, on Sunday coming from Cape Canaveral, Florida, with its Falcon 9 rocket, aiming to deliver the satellite into orbit on behalf of a US defense contractor.
A day later, there was no confirmation the mission had been a success along with also the satellite had not been recorded in orbit by US Strategic Command, which tracks tens of thousands of man-made objects in space. The satellite, built by Northrop Grumman, appears to have plunged into the atmosphere after failing to separate coming from the rocket as planned along with also was presumed to be lost, the Wall Street Journal along with also Bloomberg reported.
Gwynne Shotwell, President along with also COO of SpaceX, said Falcon 9 “did everything correctly” in a statement on Tuesday, however added which no further details could be provided because the mission was classified.
“For clarity: after review of all data to date, Falcon 9 did everything correctly on Sunday night. If we or others find otherwise based on further review, we will report which immediately,” Shotwell said within the statement. “Information published which can be contrary to which statement can be categorically false. Due to the classified nature of the payload, no further comment can be possible.”
She said the incident will not impact two various other planned SpaceX launches within the coming weeks.
“We do not comment on missions of which nature; however as of right today reviews of the data indicate Falcon 9 performed nominally,” SpaceX spokesman James Gleeson said in a statement to BuzzFeed News on Monday.
Northrop Grumman, the aerospace along with also defense contractor reportedly behind the satellite, told BuzzFeed News the mission was classified along with also which could not comment. Questions remained about which national security agency the satellite would likely have served, as well as its fate.
The satellite launch was originally scheduled for Nov. 15, however SpaceX pushed which back to review how the Falcon 9 delivers its payload.
“Standing down on Zuma mission to take a closer look at data coming from recent fairing testing for another customer,” SpaceX tweeted on Nov. 16.
The company aims to revolutionize space missions with reusable rockets which would likely dramatically lower costs. Its concepts, including the capture of rockets on drone ship landing pads following a launch, continue to undergo testing.
The satellite launch was SpaceX’s third national security mission, along with also another step toward potentially high-paying contracts through the Department of Defense, Ars Technica reported.