It was a public launch that lit up the Sunday night sky from the Space Coast, followed by a sonic boom and rocket booster landing that many saw and heard from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. But second-stage information was kept to a minimum because of all the secrecy surrounding the flight.
"This is a classified mission".
Citing government and industry officials who were briefed on the mission, the Wall Street Journal that the satellite did not separate as intended after the firing of the rocket's second stage.
"If we or others find otherwise based on further review, we will report it immediately", Shotwell said. In response to a query on Monday afternoon, a SpaceX spokesperson told Ars, "We do not comment on missions of this nature, but as of right now reviews of the data indicate Falcon 9 performed nominally". The rocket's second stage propels the satellite into orbit.
If the satellite is no longer in orbit, she said the listing will eventually be removed when the catalog is updated. Its secret US government-sponsored payload, though, did not fare as well, according to sources. The sources would not confirm what exactly the payload was, saying it was classified.
The end goal for the Hawthorne, California-based company will be to prove the utility of the rocket that can lift more than twice the payload of competitor United Launch Alliance's Delta IV Heavy.
According to an Instagram post in December, Musk said the first payload will be a red Tesla Roadster playing David Bowie's Space Oddity on a billion-year elliptical Mars orbit.
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SpaceX has launched national security payloads in the past, including a spy satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office, and an X-37B space plane for the US Air Force.
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.
"The most important issue here is whether the Pentagon will rethink its reliability as a provider of launch services", said Thompson, whose think tank receives funding from Boeing and Lockheed.
"I don't think we can know", Ketcham said. In the static fire test, SpaceX engineers will ignite all 27 of the heavy-lift rocket's engines almost simultaneously for the first time, holding the rocket down on the launch pad while they do.
Shotwell said in a statement that since no rocket changes are warranted for upcoming flights, the company's launch schedule remains on track.
Following what turned out to be an eventful Zuma launch on January 7, SpaceX is gearing up to perform a static fire test on Falcon Heavy as early as today, January 10.
This article was originally published at 10:20 a.m.