SpaceX launched a classified, for the US government on Sunday ― and then something went wrong.
The Falcon 9 with Zuma kicked off on 8 January 2018 to 04:00 Moscow time from the cosmodrome on Cape Canaveral. Currently, SpaceX is facing fierce competition from ULA, a launch provider operated by Boeing and Lockheed Martin, both of which have long relationships with various elements of the USA government.
Information published that is contrary to this statement is categorically false. And in the most recent development, a popular customer of SpaceX has come out blaming launch contractor, Northrop Grumman for the failure of the classified mission. "We can not comment on classified missions".
Updated | Elon Musk's SpaceX finally launched its mysterious Zuma satellite on Sunday from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
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If Zuma did indeed fail, it's possible the payload adapter Northrop Grumman built to deploy the satellite from the rocket itself malfunctioned.
As critics were quick to call SpaceX's reliability into question, the company rolled its new powerful rocket, the Falcon Heavy, onto the same launchpad at the Kennedy Space Center that hoisted the Apollo astronauts to the moon.
A network of amateur satellite trackers are on the lookout for Zuma in case it is still in orbit, but they are working off an estimate of its expected location, and it could take weeks to find the spacecraft, assuming it is still in space and is orbiting where predicted. If true, the spacecraft and rocket likely fell into the Indian Ocean, where the Falcon 9 second stage was to re-enter after releasing Zuma in orbit. Analysts say that further indicates the company did not see a problem with its rockets. He said his committee would provide "rigorous oversight that accounts for that risk and ensures that we can meet all of our national security space requirements as the Air Force looks to competitively procure space launch services in the future".
In the meantime, Falcon Heavy, like its smaller cousin the Falcon 9, will advance SpaceX's goal of cutting launch costs by reusing rockets. ULA has advertised the starting cost of its Atlas V rocket at $109 million.
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However, Musk has also tried to downplay expectations for this demonstration launch, saying there was a "good chance" the rocket would not make it to orbit on its first go. In 2015, a Falcon 9 rocket blew up while carrying cargo to the space station.
On launch day, safely tucked away in a protective payload fairing will be Musk's 2008 Tesla Roadster, an all-electric sports auto that boosted his energy company during its formative years. But modern computer modeling and analytics have changed that expectation.
On the other hand, Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), was not as lenient on SpaceX.
The Falcon Heavy also benefits from the development of its predecessor, the Falcon 9, said Phil Larson, assistant dean at the University of Colorado, Boulder's College of Engineering.
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