SpaceX, Pentagon wash hands of mysterious Zuma mission

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

"We have chose to stand down and take a closer look at data from recent fairing testing for another customer", said SpaceX communications director John Taylor at the time. According to The Wall Street Journal, industry officials have estimated Zuma cost billions of dollars.

"For clarity: after reviewing of all data to date, Falcon 9 did everything correctly on Sunday night". Apart from that, Bloomberg also reported that the second stage process involving the booster failed to progress in a proper way which caused both the Zuma satellite and Falcon 9 rocket's second stage to fall back into the closest ocean. If we or others find otherwise based on further review, we will report it immediately.

Image the second stage of the Falcon 9 in the skies over Sudan appeared on numerous pictures in the network, which indirectly confirms normal operation of the rocket SpaceX. Analysts say that further indicates the company did not see a problem with its rockets.

Little is known about the Zuma satellite - not even the name of the US government agency that owns it.

Northrup Grumman, the maker of the payload, said it was for the U.S. government and would be delivered to low-Earth orbit, but offered no other details. It is a more powerful rocket that SpaceX hopes to use for missions to the Moon and Mars. A spokesperson for National Reconnaissance Office, which owns the US government's spy satellite fleet, said Zuma did not belong to that organization. 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".

SpaceX found that developing such a huge rocket was more of a challenge than initially expected. The California-based company aims to launch the Heavy by month's end, making its debut with chief executive Elon Musk's own personal Tesla Roadster on board.

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Falcon Heavy is just one of several heavy-lift rockets now under development by commercial companies and NASA.

SpaceX has plans for an even larger reusable rocket and spaceship system called BFR, which would eventually replace the company's current lineup. 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. SpaceX has a six-hour window - from 1 p.m.to 7 p.m. - to fuel and test the 230-foot-tall rocket. This means as soon as the status of the satellite is confirmed, the listing of Zuma as a payload shall be updated. But modern computer modeling and analytics have changed that expectation.

Falcon Heavy is created to take heavier payloads to higher orbits, opening SpaceX's manifest to new capabilities. But a failure would not be "devastating", she said, noting that the company is given credit for its ambitious goals.

The Falcon 9 with Zuma kicked off on 8 January 2018 to 04:00 Moscow time from the cosmodrome on Cape Canaveral.

"They know the Falcon 9 well", said Larson, who formerly worked at SpaceX and was a senior advisor for space and innovation in the Obama administration.

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