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14 January 2018, 12:11 | Maryann Sutton
SpaceX president confirms successful launch of government spy satellite Zuma
It was said that Zuma failed to separate from the second stage of the Falcon 9, broke up in the air and fell into the sea. The Zuma payload was contracted for launch by Northrop Grumman for the US government, Northrop then selected SpaceX as the carrier of the payload.
SpaceX's review so far indicates that "no design, operational or other changes are needed", Shotwell said.
Information published that is contrary to this statement is categorically false. "Due to the classified nature of the payload, no further comment is possible", said SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell.
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.
A launch date for the maiden Falcon Heavy test flight has not been officially scheduled, but it could occur by the end of January. The company doesn't anticipate any impact on its upcoming launch schedule, including a Falcon 9 mission in three weeks.
While the authorities are refraining from discussing the fate of Zuma mission, SpaceX is planning on increasing the feasibility of the rockets to make it reusable like airplanes which can significantly decrease the cost incurred during any mission.
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Falcon Heavy launches start at $90 million, compared to the starting price of $62 million for the smaller Falcon 9, according to SpaceX's website. The last Corporation in the launch previously collaborated with the Alliance ULA (United Launch Alliance), a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin, not SpaceX.
Unnamed government officials and that the satellite, built by under the code-name "Zuma", failed to reach orbit and crashed back into the atmosphere.
On Sunday night, the SpaceX's launch appeared to go smoothly. By that point, SpaceX had been flying its Falcon 9 rocket successfully, and the Air Force settled the case with SpaceX, eventually granting it the certification required for it to compete. To viewers of the live stream, the launch seemed like a success.
Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), who previous flew into space in the 1980s aboard Columbia as a payload specialist, sided with SpaceX, stating, "The first statement by SpaceX was that the failure to achieve orbit was not theirs".
And if the test fire and demonstration flight are successful, SpaceX's manifest will open up to new capabilities thanks to its ability to take heavier payloads to orbit.
There's a brewing controversy surrounding SpaceX's recent launch from Cape Canaveral late Sunday night. Rumours have arisen that the mission was carrying a spy satellite of Pentagon and that it even had the capability to fix other satellites.
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