SpaceX launches secretive Zuma mission

SpaceX shows the launch of the Falcon 9 rocket at Cape Canaveral Florida for the'Zuma US satellite mission

The Falcon 9 rocket SpaceX is likely not involved in the possible loss of classified American spacecraft Zuma. However, the positive presence of the satellite in the orbit can not be confirmed. The mission, backed by the USA government, has become the talk of the town because neither the agency behind the liftoff nor the Pentagon are taking responsibility or sharing details about it post the liftoff.

"Information published that is contrary to this statement is categorically false", said Gwynne Shotwell, chief operating officer of Hawthorne, Calif. -based SpaceX. However, SpaceX made a decision to delay the launch to deal with some issues regarding the payload fairing (nose cone).

Originally scheduled for a November launch, Zuma was delayed by potential concern about another mission's payload fairing, the shell on top that protects a satellite during launch. However, SpaceX censored critical portions of the launch, including the separation of the nose cone surrounding the top-secret Zuma satellite, and the satellite's actual deployment into earth's orbit. However, the company has not specified if the Zuma payload was "successfully" deployed in the orbit.

If something went wrong - "a big "if" - I am skeptical", he wrote in a blog post - it could be that the spacecraft ended up in the wrong orbit, that it did not work after separating from the rocket, or that it failed to separate from the Falcon 9's upper stage at all.

The launch window January 30 opens at 4:23 p.m. EST (2123 GMT) and extends for 134 minutes.

This could either indicate that there is nothing to add in addition to the new satellite entry, or that the Zuma satellite is no longer in orbit. If additional reviews uncover any problems, she said, "we will report it immediately".

The company has been preparing to launch its new Falcon Heavy rocket, which is made up of three Falcon 9 engine cores.

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ULA is preparing to kick off its 2018 launch schedule with a Wednesday flight of a classified National Reconnaissance Office mission from California on a Delta IV rocket.

Shotwell's statement emailed to reporters was an unusual one for SpaceX, which rarely comments on planned Falcon 9 flights before the week of launch.

That includes the debut launch of its Falcon Heavy rocket from Kennedy Space Center.

Zuma was built for the US government, although it is unclear which part of the government.

The NRO and military agencies typically acknowledge their ownership of clandestine satellites, even if details about their missions remain under a shroud of secrecy. Northrop Grumman Corp, which supplied the payload and its adapter, has also refused to comment.

Already, rumors abound that Zuma was a satellite meant to monitor or intercept nuclear activities by North Korea and that the story about its failure is a matter of subterfuge.

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. Various spokespeople in recent days - including during a press briefing Thursday at the Pentagon - have repeatedly declined to discuss the mission, citing the classified nature of the program.

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