Thursday, 19 April, 2018

Lost in space? Secret SpaceX Zuma satellite a total loss

SpaceX president confirms successful launch of government spy satellite Zuma Lost in space? Secret SpaceX Zuma satellite a total loss – reports
Velma Reese | 12 January, 2018, 09:13

This could have resulted in the satellite tumbling back to Earth.

"For clarity: after review of all data to date, Falcon 9 did everything correctly on Sunday night".

The mission was initiated on a Sunday at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station located in Florida.

"There's a long tradition of not commenting on problems with classified missions, unless it blows up in such a way that everyone can see it", John Logsdon, founder and former director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University, told Bloomberg News. No further requests for communication were entertained by the company regarding the mission.

There are conflicting reports about what may have happened.

However, cameras did not follow stage two of the rocket, and reports suggest Zuma may not have reached its final orbit.

One possible key to SpaceX's strong defense of its rocket could involve the question of who supplied a key piece of hardware: the payload adapter, which attaches a payload to the rocket.

The Falcon 9 booster successfully made it back to earth under its own power
The Falcon 9 booster successfully made it back to earth under its own power

An article in Wired said that Northrop Grumman provided the adapter to mate Zuma to the Falcon 9. SpaceX said it would not comment beyond its statement.

What makes things tricky is the fact that the satellite failed to achieve orbit, reportedly burning up in the earth's atmosphere. 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. Meanwhile, theories are emerging that the United States government-backed Zuma was a satellite meant to monitor or intercept nuclear activities by North Korea.

She continued: "Falcon Heavy has been rolled out to launchpad LC-39A for a static fire later this week, to be followed shortly thereafter by its maiden flight". The company has already signed contracts to launch commercial missions on the three-core rocket - if the test fire and demonstration flight are successful.

"The most important issue here is whether the Pentagon will rethink its reliability as a provider of launch services", said Thompson, whose think tank receives funding from Boeing and Lockheed.

Zuma mission launch on January 7 in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

"I think the rocket itself is considered an extremely reliable vehicle", he said. In 2017, SpaceX completed 18 launches.

Northrup Grumman, the maker of the payload, has said it was for the U.S. government and would be delivered to low-Earth orbit, but offered no other details. Also, the future flights of SpaceX will remain scheduled as they were.

ISRO's journey from Aryabhata to its 100th Indian satellite
ISRO is helping not just India but several other countries in putting communication, navigation and other satellites into orbit. The opening mission of 2018 was considered crucial for ISRO as the previous PSLV launch had been a setback to scientists.

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