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SpaceX president confirms successful launch of government spy satellite Zuma

14 January 2018

"If we're talking about expanding exploration, it will be good to have more capabilities", said Olga Bannova, research associate professor and director of the space architecture graduate program at the University of Houston's college of engineering.

The Falcon's first stage completed its job, lifting the rocket off the pad and toward space, then separated and landed back at Cape Canaveral. However, SpaceX censored critical portions of the launch, including the separation of the nose cone surrounding the top-secret Zuma satellite, and the satellite's actual deployment into earth's orbit.

Amid speculations of a failed mission, SpaceX announced that the Falcon 9 performed properly but did not announce a successful launch nor made further comments whether the payload has reached its destination. However, the company has not specified if the Zuma payload was "successfully" deployed in the orbit. And the secretive nature of the mission is making it hard to determine the real reasons behind this expensive destruction of taxpayer money.

Since Monday 8 January 2018, the number of publications, in particular ArsTechnica, The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg, citing its own sources, reported a loss of Zuma.

The Falcon Heavy also benefits from the development of its predecessor, the Falcon 9, said Phil Larson, assistant dean at the University of Colorado, Boulder's College of Engineering.

An article in Wired said that Northrop Grumman provided the adapter to mate Zuma to the Falcon 9. Since the Zuma payload was attached to the second stage, it very well may have been destroyed. If we or others find otherwise based on further review, we will report it immediately.

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Corporate earnings were also in focus in Japan. "But even if they do, they would do it in a way that won't disrupt the market ". Optimism about upcoming US earnings also helped USA stocks, which resumed their 2018 rally to hit record closing highs.

Shotwell pushed back on reports that seemed to implicate SpaceX with the satellite's demise, saying "information published that is contrary to this statement is categorically false". "Due to the classified nature of the payload, no further comment is possible", says SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell.

Falcon Heavy has been rolled out to launchpad LC-39A for a static fire later this week, to be followed shortly thereafter by its maiden flight. U.S. Rep. Mike D. Rogers (R-Ala.), chairman of the strategic forces subcommittee, said in a statement that while he couldn't comment on classified matters, "space is a risky business".

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". Rumours have arisen that the mission was carrying a spy satellite of Pentagon and that it even had the capability to fix other satellites. "[United Launch Alliance], knock on wood, they've had an outstanding record".

It should be noted that that the Zuma mission was originally slated to blast off in November 2017.

Harrison, the defense analyst, said that SpaceX is in a frustrating position because it is limited in what it can say publicly about what happened. The company doesn't anticipate any impact on its upcoming launch schedule, including a Falcon 9 mission in three weeks.

SpaceX president confirms successful launch of government spy satellite Zuma