It's not official, but sources say the secretive Zuma satellite was lost

It's not official, but sources say the secretive Zuma satellite was lost

The satellite was said to have fallen back to Earth along with the second stage of the rocket. However, rumors are now swirling that SpaceX actually failed the Zuma mission, especially after there was no confirmation that it was a success.

Last year was a banner year for the private space company with 18 launches. First SpaceX will perform what is known as a wet dress rehearsal, filling the rocket with fuel and performing all systems checks short of engine ignition. "If we or others find otherwise based on further review, we will report it immediately", Gwynne Shotwell, the company's president and chief operating officer, said in a statement to Business Insider.

SpaceX spokesman James Gleeson said: "We do not comment on missions of this nature; but as of right now reviews of the data indicate Falcon 9 performed nominally". Northrop Grumman made the satellite, which it said was for the government and was destined for low-Earth orbit, but offered no other details.

Zuma may have cost billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars to design, build, and certify, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Whether the Falcon 9 Zuma mission failed or not, SpaceX is now setting its sights on the Falcon Heavy debut launch.

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According to an Instagram post in December, Musk said the first payload will be a red Tesla Roadster playing David Bowie's Space Oddity on a billion-year elliptical Mars orbit.

"It matters for future SpaceX customers who would want to know if SpaceX's payload adapters were unreliable", he replied in a follow-up tweet. Its secret US government-sponsored payload, though, did not fare as well, according to sources. Information published that is contrary to this statement is categorically false. The company has said it plans to launch about 30 missions in 2018 after completing a record 18 previous year. Due to the classified nature of the payload, no further comment is possible. "We can not comment on classified missions".

Tim Paynter, a spokesman for Northrop Corp., which was commissioned by the Defense Department to choose the launch contractor, said "we can not comment on classified missions", and army lieutenant colonel Jamie Davis, the Pentagon's spokesman for space policy, referred questions to SpaceX.

"Since the data reviewed so far indicates that no design, operational or other changes are needed, we do not anticipate any impact on the upcoming launch schedule. We are also preparing for an F9 launch for SES and the Luxembourg Government from SLC-40 in three weeks".

SpaceX is scheduled to test the engines and startup procedures of its Falcon Heavy - the most powerful rocket since the Apollo program's Saturn V - on Wednesday, a key step before its maiden flight later this month.

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