Zuma

  • A highly classified US spy satellite was reportedly lost after a failed SpaceX launch in Florida.
  • The satellite, code-named Zuma, failed to reach orbit and fell back into Earth’s atmosphere after separating from the Falcon 9 rocket.
  • A SpaceX spokesperson told Business Insider, “We do not comment on missions of this nature; but as of right now reviews of the data indicate Falcon 9 performed nominally.”

A highly classified US spy satellite has been lost after a failed SpaceX launch from Florida on Sunday, The Wall Street Journal has reported.

The satellite, code-named Zuma, failed to reach orbit and fell back into Earth’s atmosphere after separating from the Falcon 9 rocket.

According to the Wall Street Journal, this situation occurs when a satellite is released at the wrong time or is damaged.

Officials who spoke with NBC said the satellite likely broke up or landed in the sea.

A SpaceX spokesperson told Business Insider, “We do not comment on missions of this nature; but as of right now reviews of the data indicate Falcon 9 performed nominally.”

The Journal indicated this type of language points to normal rocket operations, meaning the cause of any issue came from elsewhere.

Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said on Twitter that SpaceX did not supply the payload adapter, which shoots the satellite off the rocket, for this mission. Instead it was supplied by the customer, so Elon Musk’s SpaceX may not have been the cause of any problem. However, those details were not immediately known.

Zuma was built by defense contractors Northrop Grumman, though it is unknown which US agency would have been using the satellite.

Zuma was initially scheduled to launch in November, but was delayed until the rocket and satellite were declared “healthy” for launch last week.

The mission likely cost Read More Here