The Falcon Heavy rocket will be one of SpaceX's biggest tests yet

Robyn Ryan
January 14, 2018

The Zuma payload is believed to have fallen back through the Earth's atmosphere due to the failure to separate, as the second stage of the rocket is created to fall back to earth and burn up on re-entry.

SpaceX ended launch commentary five minutes into the flight, due to the classified nature of the USA satellite.

Iridium (IRDM +1.4%) CEO Matt Desch says the loss of the satellite (code-named Zuma) is likely the fault of defense contractor Northrop Grumman (NOC +1.2%).

As for Northrop Grumman, the manufacturer of the Zuma satellite, it simply added "we can not comment on classified missions". If additional reviews uncover any problems, she said, "we will report it immediately". A day after White's statement, SpaceX president and chief operating officer, Gwynne Shotwell, was asked about Zuma.

A launch date for the maiden Falcon Heavy test flight has not been officially scheduled, but it could occur by the end of January.

According to Shotwell, "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". White declined to comment, saying, "I would have to refer you to SpaceX, who conducted the launch". However, SpaceX chose to delay the launch to deal with some issues regarding the payload fairing (nose cone).

The satellite was so highly secretive that it was not publicly released what government agency - National Reconnaissance Office?

On Sunday night, the SpaceX's launch appeared to go smoothly.

"We have made a decision 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.

SpaceX has pushed back an historic test of the Falcon Heavy, the world's largest rocket.

Reporters Sunday night expected confirmation from Northrop Grumman after officials confirmed the Zuma payload's successful launch, but the announcement never came. A spokesperson for National Reconnaissance Office, which owns the USA government's spy satellite fleet, said Zuma did not belong to that organization.

If the separation system was to blame for Zuma's rumored demise, the malfunction could have been under the responsibility of Northrop Grumman, not SpaceX.

Falcon Heavy is created to take heavier payloads to higher orbits, opening SpaceX's manifest to new capabilities.

Despite the launch being shrouded in secrecy, SpaceX seemed to have successfully carried a mysterious government satellite from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Sunday.

Other reports by VideoGamingPros

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