Sunday, 21 January, 2018

US Spy Satellite Believed Lost After SpaceX Mission Fails

Spacecraft Zuma Spacecraft Zuma
Jeannie Matthews | 14 January, 2018, 00:12

Beset by months of delays, the confidential craft was strapped to a Falcon 9 rocket and finally launched on January 7 at 8 p.m. ET. The photo was shared on Twitter by satellite tracker Marco Langbroek. A second engine was meant to propel stage two-which carried Zuma-into low-Earth orbit. "GovSat 1, with its highly flexible payload featuring advanced encryption and anti-jamming capabilities, will further secure the connectivity for our users' applications".

GovSat will share the satellite's communications capacity with Luxembourg's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies. "We can not comment on classified missions".

Teams will watch closely as the three-core launch vehicle is loaded with propellant at pad 39A on Thursday, then briefly fire its 27 Merlin engines for the first time. The name is in line with the "USA" naming system used for spacecraft owned by the US military and government intelligence agencies. The catalogued object dubbed USA-280 could have been in error, as occurred after a failed Landsat satellite launch in the 1990s, or the payload may no longer be in orbit, assuming it re-entered with the Falcon 9 upper stage within a few hours of launch.

The Zuma mission recently garnered a lot of attention from the media pertaining to the secret mission that it was designed for.

One of the most experienced trackers, an archaeologist named Marco Langbroek, shared an image taken by a Dutch pilot flying over Sudan around 2 hours and 15 minutes after the Falcon 9's launch from Cape Canaveral. This could have resulted in the satellite tumbling back to Earth.

"They know the Falcon 9 well", said Larson, who formerly worked at SpaceX and was a senior advisor for space and innovation in the Obama administration. Rumors associated with the same stated that the mission lost control during the second stage of separation from the rocket and fell back into the Earth.

Last year was a banner year for the private space company with 18 launches. However, the agency confirmed that the Falcon 9 performed as it was supposed to after going through the data review of the mission.

"If we or others find otherwise based on further review, we will report it immediately", she said.

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

Astronaut John Young, who walked on moon, dies at 87
On Apollo 10 , in May 1969, Nasa performed what it called "a full dress rehearsal" for landing men on the moon two months later. Young was the first person to travel to space six times and the ninth of 12 scientists to set foot on the lunar surface.

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. "We are also preparing for an F9 launch for SES and the Luxembourg Government from SLC-40 in three weeks".

That would explain SpaceX's account of a ideal launch, while also squaring with the satellite is a total loss.

Gwynne Shotwell, the chief operating officer of SpaceX, issued a strongly worded statement on Tuesday that placed the blame elsewhere.

The maker of the billion-dollar Zuma spy satellite, defense contractor Northrop Grumman, refused to comment on the plight of its missing satellite.

"This is a classified program", Northrop Grumman Communications Director Lon Rains told HuffPost in an emailed statement. The flight seemed to go off without a hitch, although we weren't given full access to video throughout the entirety of the flight or detailed telemetry data considering that this was a classified mission for the U.S. Military.

The conflicting reports, coupled with the seemingly incongruous aftermath, are adding a rocket-load of mystery to an already mysterious launch.

The goal of Zuma's mission was never disclosed, and no government or military agency claimed ownership.

Usually to launch satellites on Falcon 9 SpaceX used the adapters, and fairings of their own production, although official guidance on useful load for the Falcon 9 it is noted that the adapter may be provided by the manufacturer of the satellite.

The likely culprit for the failed launch of the payload can be an American Corporation Northrop Grumman. There is no on-the-record confirmation of the success or failure of the mission. On the other hand, SpaceX is also tight-lipped about the mission either. The mission was initiated on a Sunday at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station located in Florida.

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