Wednesday, 19 September, 2018

Iridium sticks up for SpaceX, blames Northrop in satellite loss

SpaceX says rocket performance OK in secret satellite launch Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published broadcast rewritten or redistributed
Kelvin Reese | 14 January, 2018, 00:11

The Falcon 9 rocket SpaceX is likely not involved in the possible loss of classified American spacecraft Zuma. However, post the liftoff there is no information about whether the mission was a success or a failure, and what was the goal behind sending the rocket through a private collaboration.

SpaceX has launched national security payloads in the past, including a spy satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office, and an X-37B space plane for the US Air Force. SpaceX was able to land the booster's first stage, while the second stage continued to carry the secretive Zuma payload to its destination in low-orbit.

Little is known about the Zuma satellite - not even the name of the US government agency that owns it.

"For clarity: after review of all data to date, Falcon 9 did everything correctly on Sunday night", SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said in a statement emailed to HuffPost.

"If we or others find otherwise based on further review, we will report it immediately", she said. It was said that Zuma failed to separate from the second stage of the Falcon 9, broke up in the air and fell into the sea.

SpaceX officials said the Falcon 9 functioned as expected during Sunday's launch.

And if the test fire and demonstration flight are successful, SpaceX's manifest will open up to new capabilities thanks to its ability to take heavier payloads to orbit.

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An article in Wired said that Northrop Grumman provided the adapter to mate Zuma to the Falcon 9.

The Falcon 9 with Zuma kicked off on 8 January 2018 to 04:00 Moscow time from the cosmodrome on Cape Canaveral.

SpaceX is slated to demonstrate the maiden flight of Falcon Heavy, a larger and more powerful rocket, later this month.

Information published that is contrary to this statement is categorically false.

Falcon Heavy launches start at $90 million, compared to the starting price of $62 million for the smaller Falcon 9, according to SpaceX's website. "We are also preparing for an F9 launch for SES and the Luxembourg Government from SLC-40 in three weeks". The mission, backed by the United States government, has become the talk of the town because neither the agency behind the liftoff nor the Pentagon are taking responsibility or sharing details about it post the liftoff.

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

Falcon Heavy is created to take heavier payloads to higher orbits, opening SpaceX's manifest to new capabilities.

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