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US News Fate of secret satellite a mystery amid reports of failure

15:21  09 january  2018
15:21  09 january  2018 Source:   cbsnews.com

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CBS Evening News Top- secret U.S. satellite launched by SpaceX ends CBS Evening News East Coast flood warnings A senior SpaceX official, not addressing the fate of the satellite , said a data review showed the

Fate of secret satellite a mystery amid reports of failure — CBS News.

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Fate of secret satellite a mystery amid reports of possible failure . A classified satellite launched Sunday by SpaceX may have suffered a failure , reports say Home – CBSNews.com.

A classified satellite code-named Zuma, launched Sunday night atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, may have suffered a mission-ending failure during or shortly after the climb to space, according to news accounts Monday evening.

Kicking off a busy year for SpaceX, the Falcon 9 blasted off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 8 p.m. EST (GMT-5) Sunday, putting on a spectacular show as it streaked away on a northeasterly trajectory.


Because the payload was classified, SpaceX commentators revealed nothing about the satellite, which government agency owns it or when it was expected to be released from the Falcon 9's second stage. No details about its intended orbit -- or its purpose -- were revealed.

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After reports the Zuma satellite suffered some sort of failure , SpaceX rushes to defend its reputation. The top- secret satellite known only by a code name “Zuma” was a mystery from the start.

SpaceX mission commentary covered the initial minutes of the launch, ignition of the rocket's second stage, jettison of a protective payload fairing and landing of the first stage back at the Air Force station. But in keeping with plans announced before launch, the company did not discuss any aspects of the payload or its intended orbit.

A look at Sunday night's SpaceX launch in Florida.: 180107-spaceflight-now-spacex-launch-night.jpg © Spaceflight Now 180107-spaceflight-now-spacex-launch-night.jpg That is standard procedure for classified missions. But in the wake of most such missions, the responsible agency -- usually the Air Force -- releases a post-launch statement several hours later to indicate the overall result. Reporters expected a statement of some sort from Zuma's builder, Northrop Grumman, but the company said nothing Sunday night.

On Monday, rumors began swirling about a possible failure. When asked about an update, a Northrup Grumman spokesman said only that "this is a classified mission. We cannot comment on classified missions."

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UFO News: current & historic reports from around the world. Thursday, January 11, 2018. Fate of Secret Satellite a Mystery . A classified satellite code-named Zuma, launched Sunday night atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, apparently suffered a mission-ending failure shortly

After reports Monday that the satellite suffered some sort of failure , SpaceX rushed to defend its reputation, denying that it had done anything wrong. [The mystery behind the fate of a top- secret satellite comes at the height of one of Elon Musk’s biggest rivalries].


A SpaceX spokesman said "we do not comment on missions of this nature. But as of right now reviews of the data indicate Falcon 9 performed nominally."

That would indicate the presumed problem did not involve the Falcon 9. But the Wall Street Journal quoted unnamed sources Monday saying "the secret payload ... is believed to have plummeted back into the atmosphere ... because it didn't separate as planned from the upper stage of the rocket."


Reuters also reported the satellite "failed to separate from the second stage of the Falcon 9 rocket and is assumed to have broken up or plunged into the sea."

The reports were at odds with the U.S. catalog of orbital payloads, which listed Zuma as USA 280. In addition, amateur satellite trackers believe the second stage re-entered the atmosphere where it was expected to end its mission, indicating a normal flight plan.

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A space mission, already shrouded in secrecy , has now grown even more mysterious . That's amid rumors about the fate of a top- secret U.S. government satellite SpaceX - Zuma Failure 01-10-2018 - Продолжительность: 2:34 USLaunchReport 18 898 просмотров.

Mystery surrounding secret Zuma government satellite believed to be lost in orbit deepens as SpaceX says its rocket 'did everything correctly'. SpaceX has defended its rocket performance during the weekend launch of a secret U.S. satellite , amid reports that the secret satellite codenamed Zuma

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The mystery surrounding the fate of a secret military satellite deepened Thursday when the Pentagon refused to answer even simple questions about whether the SpaceX says rocket worked fine as spy satellite reported lost. The DOD declines to comment, so where does the claim of failure originate?

Mystery surrounding the top- secret government payload that SpaceX launched deepened as reports circulated that the satellite had been lost. Of course, it's possible we may never know the final fate of Zuma. This article originally appeared on CNET.

a man that is on fire: A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018. The rocket is carrying a classified payload for the US Government. Secret Zuma satellite's fate unknown after SpaceX launch

"Space-Track has cataloged the Zuma payload as USA 280, international designation 2018-001A. Catalog number 43098," tweeted Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer who tracks rocket launchings. "No orbit details given. No reentry date given, but for a secret payload it might not be. Implication is Space-Track thinks it completed at least one orbit."

"Conflicts with WSJ story that payload failed to separate from second stage (which is believed to have deorbited itself)," he continued. "Consistent with SpaceX claim that rocket behaved correctly."

He said it was "still possible that payload did not power up at separation, would account for at least part of today's rumors of a failure."


But McDowell cautioned Space-Track "could be wrong in cataloging the object," which happened at least once before with a Landsat failure in the 1990s.

"The lack of details about what occurred means that some possible alternate sequence of events other than a failed separation may have been the culprit," the Wall Street Journal said.


Satellites can fall victim to any number of failures and malfunctions after separation from their boosters. Solar arrays must unfold to re-charge batteries, for example, radios have to activate for commanding, flight computers must carry out stored programs as planned. And so it goes.

As of Monday evening, the status of Zuma was unknown.

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