SpaceX claims malfunctioning rocket worked just as it was supposed to

  • SpaceX claims malfunctioning rocket worked just as it was supposed to

SpaceX claims malfunctioning rocket worked just as it was supposed to

A media query to Northrop Grumman, which manufactured the satellite, was not immediately returned Monday.

Billionaire Musk, who founded the Hawthorne, California-based SpaceX, has since hailed the milestone as a savings deal for the space industry. In the case of Zuma, we have no idea who that is.

Zuma was built by the defence contractor Northrop Grumman, though it is unknown which U.S. agency would have been using the satellite.

SpaceX said the Zuma mission's apparent failure wouldn't affect the company's upcoming launches, including a much-anticipated inaugural demonstration flight of the massive new Falcon Heavy rocket later this month.

"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. SpaceX's review so far indicates that "no design, operational or other changes are needed", she said. Information published that is contrary to this statement is categorically false. The company only said it's classified and wouldn't comment.

But something went wrong after the stream cut. The satellite was picked up by a cataloging agency. Amidst speculation, one thing is certain: the satellite isn't fully functional in its intended orbit.

Musk acknowledged in a conference a year ago that there was a "lot of risk" associated with launching Falcon Heavy, and there was a good chance the rocket doesn't even get to orbit. None the less, Zuma is there. Both the Wall Street Journal and Reuters quoted unnamed officials as saying the satellite did not separate from the Falcon 9 second stage.

How that happened is still speculative, but reporting from WIRED's Robin Seemangal found something interesting when it came to the mission's payload adapter. The odd explanation seems to have to do with a device within the rocket called the payload adapter, the interface between the launcher and satellite.

As for Northrop Grumman, the maker of the satellite, they can't make an official statement about the situation, either. "This is a classified mission", a spokesperson told NBC News.

Money. This was s a national security mission, with the USA taxpayer footing. If they find it, the discovery could suggest a satellite error rendering Zuma dead on arrival instead of a launch error, which would have sent it crashing into the ocean.

As it usually does for classified launches, Loren Grush reports forThe Verge, SpaceX censored coverage of the launch, cutting its livestream prior to nose cone separation that would reveal the payload.

For years, the company has been in a heated battle with ULA over lucrative contracts to launch national security payloads, long seen by Musk as a key source of revenue.

We spoke with Dale Ketcham of Space Florida, the state's aerospace and spaceport development authority. "So all things considered, Florida is in a good position". So what happened to Zuma? It did stream the successful landing of the Falcon 9 first stage rocket booster after it completed its primary mission.

The company has said it plans about 30 missions in 2018 after completing a record 18 a year ago.