A Highly Classified Spy Satellite Has Been Destroyed. Probably

A Highly Classified Spy Satellite Has Been Destroyed. Probably

A Highly Classified Spy Satellite Has Been Destroyed. Probably

The launch comes as reports indicate that a highly classified satellite launched by SpaceX on Sunday has gone missing and may have suffered a failure once it reached space. "It falls more on Northrup", Jim Cantrell, an early SpaceX employee who is now the CEO of Vector, a micro satellite launch startup, told NBC News.

On Tuesday, SpaceX released a statement saying that the Falcon 9 rocket did everything correctly during Sunday night's launch of Zuma mission and the company anticipated no delays to its lunch.

A military satellite launched by Elon Musk's Space Exploration Technologies Corp. hasn't been spotted in orbit by the US Strategic Command, creating a mystery about the fate of the classified payload and doubts about whether the mission was a success.

SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell issued a statement this morning reasserting the company's position that its Falcon 9 rocket was not at fault for whatever happened to the Zuma satellite.

SpaceX's review so far indicates that "no design, operational or other changes are needed", Shotwell said.

Northrop Grumman - which provided the satellite for an undisclosed USA government entity - said it can not comment on classified missions.

Tim Paynter, a spokesman for Northrop Grumman Corp, which was commissioned by the Defense Department to choose the launch contractor, declined to comment on the payload adapter, saying "we can not comment on classified missions". Its secret US government-sponsored payload, though, did not fare as well, according to sources.

Citing government and industry officials who were briefed on the mission, the Wall Street Journal that the satellite did not separate as intended after the firing of the rocket's second stage.

More news: Trump to Attend College Football Title Game in 'Crime Infested' Atlanta

The mission itself was shrouded in secrecy even before it failed to enter a stable orbit.

Elon Musk tweeted that when it does lift off, the company plans to land all three first stages back on Earth, with two cores returning to land and a third to a droneship out in the Atlantic. "We can not comment on classified programs". SpaceX, along with Boeing Co, also has a contract with NASA to fly astronauts to the International Space Station as part of the "Commercial Crew" program, with the first crucial test flight scheduled for the second quarter.

The launch is SpaceX's first in what was expected to be a busy year.

But the unknown dominated this mission.

The launch broadcast was cut off shortly after the rocket's nose cone separated, which is standard under secret national security missions. However, the company has completed more than ten successful supply missions to ISS.

SpaceX competes for military launches with United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin Corp, which was the sole provider for the Pentagon until Musk began a campaign in Congress and the courts challenging what he called an unfair monopoly.

In short, SpaceX appears to be shrugging its shoulders as it prepares to launch yet another Falcon 9 rocket and its first Mars-capable rocket, Falcon Heavy (a launch vehicle that's essentially three times as powerful as a Falcon 9).

Related news