Secret US spy satellite may be lost in space after SpaceX launch

Secret US spy satellite may be lost in space after SpaceX launch

Secret US spy satellite may be lost in space after SpaceX launch

It comes a few days after a satellite launched by rival SpaceX went missing.

"When it's hundreds of millions of dollars versus something that's $60,000 to $90,000, it's hard to justify the taxpayer dollars", said Cantrell. "Launch failures do occur, it's just unfortunate when they do".

According to U.S. Strategic Command, the Zuma payload is nowhere to be found in space, with no new satellites tracked after the Falcon 9 launch.

On Sunday, January 7, SpaceX successfully launched the secret Zuma mission through its Falcon 9 rocket. It was so shrouded in secrecy that the sponsoring government agency was not even identified, as is usually the case. "The onus is on the Air Force or Grumman to prove otherwise".

The Journal, which received the same statement, said the language pointed to normal rocket operations, suggesting the cause of any issue came from elsewhere.

"After review of all data to date, Falcon 9 did everything correctly", SpaceX Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell said in a statement Tuesday. SpaceX says not it - only that if it or others find out differently, it'll let us know. The company's spokesman Lon Rains said, "This is a classified mission".

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.

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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".

"There will be at least three investigations".

"SpaceX is saying, "'Everything performed as expected, it's not our fault, '" said Marco Caceres, senior analyst and director of space studies with the Teal Group. "There will be an internal investigation at Northrup Grumman". Last year, SpaceX entered the national security launch market, and future Florida-based launchers like Blue Origin want a piece of the market.

SpaceX - which was founded and led by Musk, who also heads the electric-vehicle manufacturer Tesla Inc - is slated to demonstrate the maiden flight of Falcon Heavy, a larger and more powerful rocket, later this month.

For almost a decade, ULA had a monopoly on Pentagon launches. After a rigorous Air Force review, SpaceX was certified in 2015 to compete for military launches. Under mounting pressure from SpaceX, he was sacked, and ULA's new CEO, Tory Bruno, vowed to "literally transform" the company in order to compete with Musk - and he also continued to champion ULA's track record of successful launches.

The high-profile error is an embarrassment for the effort. SpaceX, along with Boeing Co, also 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. The rocket took off, all looked good from the Cape, and SpaceX landed the rocket. No one was hurt in either explosion.

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