SpaceX claims malfunctioning rocket worked just as it was supposed to

SpaceX claims malfunctioning rocket worked just as it was supposed to

SpaceX claims malfunctioning rocket worked just as it was supposed to

The mission-referred to by the code name Zuma-took off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida Sunday on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

- SpaceX defended its rocket performance during the weekend launch of a secret USA satellite, responding Tuesday to media reports that the satellite codenamed Zuma was lost.

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". "We can not comment on classified missions".

SpaceX, the company commissioned to launch the highly classified satellite, codenamed Zuma, said that its Falcon 9 rocket had performed normally and that the segment carrying Zuma had deployed successfully.

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"If we or others find otherwise based on further review, we will report it immediately", she said. Defense company Northrop Grumman requested the launch in behalf of the government, further casting a veil of secrecy on the missions.

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.

For years, the company has been in a heated battle with ULA over lucrative contracts to launch national security payloads, long seen by Musk as a key source of revenue.

It was not immediately clear if the failure of this mission was due to problems with the SpaceX rocket, or with the Zuma spacecraft.

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"This is a classified mission". 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.

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. "We can not comment on classified missions". Also, the company continued with preparations for future launches, including rolling the Falcon Heavy rocket back out to a different launch pad in Florida for additional tests. 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.

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

SpaceX launched two other national security missions a year ago: a satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office in May and the Pentagon's autonomous space plane, known as the X-37B, in September. So, whether the Zuma mission was a success or a failure, is still unknown.

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As it usually does for classified launches, Loren Grush reports forThe Verge, SpaceX censored coverage of the launch, cutting its livestream prior to nose cone separation that would reveal the payload. However, the company has completed more than ten successful supply missions to ISS. 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.

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