Tech & Science SpaceX denies Falcon rocket caused secret Zuma mission failure

13:41  10 january  2018
13:41  10 january  2018 Source:   usatoday.com

SpaceX prepares secret 'Zuma' satellite launch

  SpaceX prepares secret 'Zuma' satellite launch SpaceX is preparing to send into space a satellite for the US government that is so secret the public cannot know even which branch of the administration commissioned the launch.  A weather report ahead of the launch released on Tuesday described the conditions as excellent.Unlike the private aerospace company's previous classified launches for the military's National Reconnaissance Officeand the super-secret space-plane it took into orbit for the Air Force, there is almost no information available about the "Zuma" payload.

That's standard procedure during secret national security missions . A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station with the secretive Zuma payload on Sunday, Jan.

There were reports that the Zuma mission may have ended in failure , but SpaceX said its Falcon 9 rocket "did everything correctly." To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the Conversation Guidelines and FAQs. SpaceX denies Falcon rocket caused secret Zuma mission

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SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket “did everything correctly” during Sunday night’s launch of the government’s classified Zuma satellite from Cape Canaveral, the company said in a statement Tuesday that attempted to beat back rumors it might be responsible for a failed mission.

SpaceX Has Launched the U.S. Government's Secretive 'Zuma' Spacecraft Into Orbit

  SpaceX Has Launched the U.S. Government's Secretive 'Zuma' Spacecraft Into Orbit SpaceX successfully completed its first launch of 2018 Sunday night, sending a highly secretive U.S. government spacecraft into orbit before carrying out an upright landing of the rocket’s first stage. The classified payload, named Zuma, took off at around 8 p.m. from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on a Falcon 9 rocket and was sent into low-earth orbit. Little is known about the mission’s objectives.SpaceX cut its live web feed shortly after separation of the payload from the rocket, citing the classified nature of its cargo.

Filed Under: Rocket Launch, SpaceX , Zuma . HAWTHORNE (CBSLA/AP) — SpaceX is defending the performance of one of its rockets after it had been reported that the spacecraft, Zuma , was lost after failing to reach orbit during a secret mission on Sunday.

Zuma ’s Potential Identity. Northrop Grumman’s Eagle-3 Satellite Platform is a likely candidate for Zuma – Image: Northrop Grumman. Zuma is a code-named mission of the U.S. Government launching atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in November 2017.

“Information published that is contrary to this statement is categorically false,” said Gwynne Shotwell, chief operating officer of Hawthorne, Calif.-based SpaceX. “Due to the classified nature of the payload, no further comment is possible.”

SpaceX issued the statement in response to reports on Twitter and by some news outlets, not officially confirmed, that the secret satellite fell into the ocean after the Sunday blastoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Shotwell said the company's defense of the Falcon 9 was based on “review of all data to date,” and it would report any new information changing that assessment.

But the vigorous defense of the rocket implied that if the Zuma mission did fail, it was because of a problem with the spacecraft built by Northrop Grumman, which has not commented on the mission’s status.

Why a Tesla Roadster is heading into space

  Why a Tesla Roadster is heading into space ► Original Tesla Roadster on a rocket ► SpaceX mission sends EV into space ► Convertible will be sent to orbit Mars Never knowingly under-hyped, Tesla chief Elon Musk has come up with a new publicity stunt: he's sending an original Noughties Tesla Roadster into space. It's as part of his SpaceX ► Original Tesla Roadster on a rocket

SpaceX ’s Falcon 9 rocket , carrying the Zuma satellite into orbit. And if that payload adapter failed , it would have left the satellite still attached to the upper portion of the rocket . That’s certainly a mission failure , but it wouldn’t necessarily be the fault of the Falcon 9.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station with the secretive Zuma payload on Sunday, Jan. That's standard procedure during secret national security missions . More: SpaceX kicks off 2018 with launch of mysterious Zuma mission , Falcon landing.

a star filled sky: Colorful contrails are created as the second stage of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket begins its ascent and the first stage descends after liftoff from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 8 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018. The rocket was carrying the classified Zuma payload for the U.S. Government. © Craig Bailey, FLORIDA TODAY-USA TODAY NETWORK Colorful contrails are created as the second stage of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket begins its ascent and the first stage descends after liftoff from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 8 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018. The rocket was carrying the classified Zuma payload for the U.S. Government. The Wall Street Journal and Reuters — citing officials who spoke on condition of anonymity — earlier reported the satellite is presumed "to be a total loss."

SpaceX cut off its launch broadcast after confirming that the rocket's nose cone — the cause of a delay to a planned November launch — had separated a few minutes after the 8 p.m. ET blastoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. That's standard procedure during secret national security missions.

But neither SpaceX nor Northrop later confirmed the launch was ultimately a success, as United Launch Alliance typically does for its classified missions.

The U.S. Spy Satellite Launched by SpaceX Failed to Reach Orbit

  The U.S. Spy Satellite Launched by SpaceX Failed to Reach Orbit A U.S. spy satellite that was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, aboard a SpaceX rocket on Sunday failed to reach orbit and is assumed to be a total loss, two U.S. officials briefed on the mission said on Monday. The classified intelligence satellite, built by Northrop Grumman, failed to separate from the second stage of the Falcon 9 rocket and is assumed to have broken up or plunged into the sea, said the two officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.The satellite is assumed to be “a write-off,” one of the officials said.The presumed loss of the satellite was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

A classified satellite code-named Zuma , launched Sunday night atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket , may have suffered a mission -ending failure during or shortly after the climb to space , according to news accounts Monday evening.

SEE ALSO: SpaceX launches secret government mission , brings rocket back in for a landing. Zuma 's launch was aired live via webcast by SpaceX , though the company cut away after the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket came back in for a landing.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk on Monday shared a long-exposure photo of the Falcon launch and landing taken by Satellite Beach High student John Kraus, with no indication that anything was amiss.

Marco Langbroek, an amateur satellite tracker from the Netherlands who was closely watching Zuma, said evidence shows the rocket’s upper stage did achieve orbit.

He noted that U.S. military’s Joint Space Operations Center, which tracks objects in space, did catalog an object designated “payload,” meaning something completed at least one orbit.

If something went wrong — “a big ‘if’ – I am skeptical,” he wrote in a blog post — it could be that the spacecraft ended up in the wrong orbit, that it did not work after separating from the rocket, or that it failed to separate from the Falcon 9’s upper stage at all.

Of those scenarios, he said, the third appears to be the most plausible.

The Falcon rocket’s upper stage vented excess fuel and was dropped from orbit on purpose, a standard procedure to minimize space junk. If the satellite was still attached, it would not have been salvageable.

Fate of secret satellite a mystery amid reports of failure

  Fate of secret satellite a mystery amid reports of failure A classified satellite launched Sunday by SpaceX may have suffered a failure, reports sayA classified satellite code-named Zuma, launched Sunday night atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, may have suffered a mission-ending failure during or shortly after the climb to space, according to news accounts Monday evening.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches from the Space Launch Complex 4 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in Lompoc, California on December 22, 2017. The space exploration firm, which is headed by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, initially scheduled the secretive Zuma mission for last November, but a series

Blockchain Stocks Are Next! Did SpaceX ’s secret Zuma mission actually. fail ? Conflicting reports say the satellite fell out of the sky. When reached for comment, SpaceX said that the Falcon 9 rocket , which carried Zuma to orbit, performed as it was supposed to.

a boat that is lit up at night: A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station with the secretive Zuma payload on Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018. The first stage can be seen returning to land between the boat masts. © MALCOLM DENEMARK/FLORIDA TODAY A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station with the secretive Zuma payload on Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018. The first stage can be seen returning to land between the boat masts.

From the Space Coast, bluish-white light appeared to swirl in the sky as the rocket’s upper-stage engine ignited some 50 miles up, about two-and-a-half minutes after liftoff, and the first stage began flying back to the Cape for a landing.

But while striking, the visuals likely were the result of what meteorologists said were relatively common weather conditions.

Viewers saw light from the Falcon 9 engines glowing and diffracted through a pair of thin cloud decks, one at 4,000 feet and another at roughly 20,000 to 25,000 feet, said Tony Cristaldi, senior meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Melbourne.

The clouds were more widespread along the Falcon 9’s northeasterly path over the Atlantic Ocean, but broken up at the coast, which provided unobstructed views throughout the rocket’s rise and the booster’s descent to a landing.

The glow from the Merlin engines was accentuated in the same way that light reflecting off high clouds at sunrise or sunset is often particularly picturesque.

person standing in a parking lot: A hair salon worker photographs the light display of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket launch, Friday, Dec. 22, 2017, in Apple Valley, Calif. The launch was more than 200 miles from Apple Valley yet was still brilliantly visible. The Falcon 9 booster lifted off from coastal Vandenberg Air Force Base, carrying the latest batch of satellites for Iridium Communications. © James Quigg, AP A hair salon worker photographs the light display of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket launch, Friday, Dec. 22, 2017, in Apple Valley, Calif. The launch was more than 200 miles from Apple Valley yet was still brilliantly visible. The Falcon 9 booster lifted off from coastal Vandenberg Air Force Base, carrying the latest batch of satellites for Iridium Communications.

“The illumination of the rocket plume would cause similar effects as it’s passing through those clouds,” said Cristaldi.

Musk's Space Dreams Tested by Zuma's Mystery Failure

  Musk's Space Dreams Tested by Zuma's Mystery Failure It was one of the most important things Elon Musk has ever launched into space: a government satellite so shrouded in secrecy that virtually everything about it is classified. Its code name: Zuma.Only now, what was supposed to be a triumph for Musk and his Space Exploration Technologies Corp. has turned into a potential setback after the satellite went missing. The episode is also shaping up as a test for the billionaire’s ambitions in space -- especially SpaceX’s hard-won ability to compete for military missions.

That type of failure could potentially have occurred after a successful Falcon 9 launch. A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the secret Zuma spacecraft launches into space from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Jan.

A SpaceX Falcon rocket launches the NROL satellite for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office on . A Falcon is scheduled to loft a mysterious payload called Zuma for the U.S. government on Nov. . SpaceX plans to launch a secret payload known as Zuma on Thursday .

Sunday night’s show was eye-catching, at least briefly, but didn't top the dramatic scene Southern California residents took in recently when a Falcon 9 blasted off near sunset on Dec. 22.

Light from the setting sun enveloped the rocket plume in a white bubble with a comet-like tail that transfixed viewers and went viral on social media. Musk played along with jokes about UFOs and aliens during the successful launch of Iridium satellites.

That phenomenon is known as noctilucent clouds.

a star filled sky: On Sept. 2, 2015, a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying the Navy's MUOS-4 satellite lit up the sky after launching from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 6:18 a.m. © Craig Rubadoux/FLORIDA TODAY On Sept. 2, 2015, a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying the Navy's MUOS-4 satellite lit up the sky after launching from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 6:18 a.m. SpaceX has been preparing for tests and a debut launch of its Falcon Heavy rocket, and for another satellite launch as soon as late January.

Shotwell said SpaceX planned to proceed with its launch schedule "since the data reviewed so far indicates that no design, operational or other changes are needed."

That includes the debut launch of its Falcon Heavy rocket from Kennedy Space Center. A test-firing of the rocket’s 27 main engines is possible as soon as Wednesday afternoon.

Another Falcon 9 launch of a communications satellite from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station is planned within three weeks.

ULA is preparing to kick off its 2018 launch schedule with a Wednesday flight of a classified National Reconnaissance Office mission from California on a Delta IV rocket. That will be followed by a Jan. 18 night launch from the Cape of an Atlas V rocket and U.S. missile warning satellite.

Delays and safety concerns mar NASA’s plans to fly astronauts on commercial spacecraft .
NASA’s ambitious initiative to fly astronauts on commercial spacecraft continues to suffer from schedule delays, as well as questions regarding the program’s safety — and Congress isn’t happy about it. As part of the program, two companies — Boeing and SpaceX — are developing spacecraft to ferry NASA astronauts to and from the International Space Station. When these two companies were selected by NASA back in 2014, the goal was to start flying crews to the station as early as 2017. But 2017 has come and gone, and the target dates keep moving.

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