SpaceX postpones 'static test' fire of Falcon Heavy engines

Pablo Tucker
January 12, 2018

The Wall Street Journal quotes unidentified congressional officials who were briefed on the mission as saying the satellite apparently did not separate from the second stage, and plunged through the atmosphere and burned up.

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

SpaceX has pushed back its scheduled test fire of the Falcon Heavy rocket by one day.

While it appeared that the launch went off without a hitch, the full launch and separation of the nose cone, which surrounded the secret satellite, was not streamed as it normally is, due to the classified nature of the mission.

The expert refers to the publication Wired, which reported that the layout of the payload on the rocket Zuma said the company Northrop Grumman. 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.


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

Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), who previous flew into space in the 1980s aboard Columbia as a payload specialist, sided with SpaceX, stating, "The first statement by SpaceX was that the failure to achieve orbit was not theirs".

Originally planned to launch back in November, Zuma had a secret payload for the US government.

SpaceX is led by Elon Musk and has been rapidly expanding its launch business, which includes NASA, national security and commercial missions.

The mystery surrounding the fate of a secret military satellite deepened Thursday when the Pentagon refused to answer even simple questions about whether the mission to launch it had gone awry.


In 2015, SpaceX was certified by the U.S. Air Force to launch national security satellites. That broke up a longtime and lucrative monopoly held by a joint venture between Lockheed Martin Corp. and Boeing Co. known as United Launch Alliance.

The company has not said when exactly the rocket's engines will fire.

On its website, SpaceX says it has more than 70 upcoming missions on its launch manifest, which could take several years. "If we or others find otherwise based on further review, we will report it immediately", Shotwell said in the statement. In 2017, SpaceX completed 18 launches.

The satellite launch was originally scheduled for November 15, but SpaceX pushed it back to review how the Falcon 9 delivers its payload.


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