Secret US spy satellite may be lost because of problems after launch

Eloi Lecerf
Janeiro 13, 2018

In a statement, the Department of Defense said, "As a matter of policy we do not comment on classified missions".

SpaceX on Friday announced via Twitter the launch - which had been repeatedly delayed since November - had been pushed back to Jan. 7 due to bad weather.

It remains unclear whether the satellite failure will have an impact on SpaceX's military launch business.

SpaceX is defending its rocket performance during Sunday night's launch of a secret U.S. satellite.

"If we or others find otherwise based on further review, we will report it immediately", she said.

"Team at the Cape completed additional propellant loading tests today", SpaceX said in a tweet Friday.

The company has yet to set a date for its inaugural launch.

There was nothing unusual about the launch itself, which - as the photos and videos show - went off just like SpaceX would have liked, complete with the first stage landing.

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Last year was a banner year for the private space company with 18 launches.

The cost of the satellite is estimated to be in the billions. The mission control room clapped and cheered a few seconds later as the Falcon 9 split into two stages. SpaceX spokesperson James Gleeson said: "We do not comment on missions of this nature; but as of right now reviews of the data indicate Falcon 9 performed nominally".

The company has been preparing to launch at the end of the month its new Falcon Heavy rocket, which is made up of three Falcon 9 engine cores.

Considering the clandestine nature of the mission, it might be difficult to say anything about what happened on Zuma with much certainty, even as additional reports come in. But the launch is bound to be a setback. SpaceX's press kit offers no details about the mysterious satellite.

The new nine-engine rocket launched from launch pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and will take the secret payload to a low orbit.

One Twitter user said: "I was enjoying watching until you cut the feed prior to stage 2 (T-2)".

Mr Rains added: "The US Government assigned Northrop Grumman the responsibility of acquiring launch services for this mission".

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