A Highly Classified Spy Satellite Has Been Destroyed. Probably

US Spy Satellite Believed Lost After SpaceX Mission Fails

SpaceX president confirms successful launch of government spy satellite Zuma

The test fire was also delayed Thursday.

The next satellite assigned to fly on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket has arrived at Cape Canaveral ahead of a planned January 30 liftoff from pad 40 on a previously-flown SpaceX booster.

Reports began to trickle in Monday afternoon that Zuma, which was said to be worth more than $1 billion, may have been lost after it was launched Sunday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida aboard a SpaceX rocket. The spacecraft, part of Air Force's Space Based Infrared System, or SBIRS, is scheduled to vault off the pad at Launch Complex 41 at 7:52 p.m.

According to Wired Magazine, Northrop Grumman supplied the adapter fitting connecting the Zuma payload with the Falcon 9 rocket. If additional reviews uncover any problems, she said, "we will report it immediately".

The attack, particularly targeted Northrop Grumman, the builders of the satellite who have remained low and did not give any explanation about the incident while SpaceX is taking all the heat. After a bitter legal and lobbying battle, the Pentagon certified SpaceX's Falcon 9 for the missions and now is relying on SpaceX to reliably fly its satellites to orbit.

Congressional inquiries into the satellite failure may revive debate about SpaceX's rivalry for military contracts with United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin Corp.

Last year was a banner year for the private space company with 18 launches.


"The first statement by SpaceX was that the failure to achieve orbit was not theirs" so there's no reason so far to question the company's planned participation in NASA space projects, Sen. He said his committee would provide "rigorous oversight that accounts for that risk and ensures that we can meet all of our national security space requirements as the Air Force looks to competitively procure space launch services in the future".

Start Falcon 9 with Zuma was the first for SpaceX in 2018.

"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", she said.

That in itself was a statement: "They're not going to launch again if they think there's a chance it was their fault", said Todd Harrison, a defense analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. However, the agency confirmed that the Falcon 9 performed as it was supposed to after going through the data review of the mission.

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.

Reporters Sunday night expected confirmation from Northrop Grumman after officials confirmed the Zuma payload's successful launch, but the announcement never came. The flight seemed to go off without a hitch, although we weren't given full access to video throughout the entirety of the flight or detailed telemetry data considering that this was a classified mission for the U.S. Military.

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