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Lost in space? Secret SpaceX Zuma satellite a total loss
12 January 2018, 09:14 | Justin Tyler
SpaceX and Boeing Co. are partners in Nasa’s commercial crew program which aims to revive human spaceflights from Nelson’s state
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.
A senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, Laura Grego, showed concern that the satellite might have stopped functioning near the orbit or failed to separate from the rocket during the second half of the mission.
She continued: "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".
SpaceX isn't commenting on the allegedly failed mission, however.
"For clarity: after reviewing of all data to date, Falcon 9 did everything correctly on Sunday night".
Bloomberg reported Monday night, citing a US official and two congressional aides familiar with the launch, that the Falcon 9's second-stage booster section failed.
The expert refers to the publication Wired, which reported that the layout of the payload on the rocket Zuma said the company Northrop Grumman. SpaceX said it would not comment beyond its statement. The company chose SpaceX as the launch provider, noting late previous year that it took "great care to ensure the most affordable and lowest risk scenario for Zuma".
According to the latest ArsTechnica, now in the U.S. Congress to investigate the circumstances of the possible loss of Zuma and the role of interaction between SpaceX and Northrop Grumman. Questions remained about which national security agency the satellite would have served, as well as its fate. Rep. Mike Rogers, who leads the House Armed Services Strategic Forces subcommittee, added rather bluntly that "space is a risky business", but that his committee will continue to provide oversight for future missions tasked with protecting national security. That broke up a longtime and lucrative monopoly held by a joint venture between Lockheed Martin Corp. and Boeing Co. known as United Launch Alliance, which has had 100 percent mission success in its 123 launches.
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.
The company has not said when exactly the rocket's engines will fire.
"I think the rocket itself is considered an extremely reliable vehicle", he said.
Northrup Grumman, the maker of the payload, has said it was for the U.S. government and would be delivered to low-Earth orbit, but offered no other details.
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