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Wed, Jan 10, 2018

Zuma Satellite Launched By SpaceX Failed To Reach Orbit

Classified Spacecraft Considered A 'Total Loss'

To observers on the ground, it appeared to be a flawless launch. The SpaceX Falcon 9 booster lifted off late Sunday night, and landed back at the Kennedy Space Center a few minutes later.

But the payload it was carrying, a classified satellite called "Zuma" for an undisclosed agency of the U.S. government, never made it to orbit.

Fox News relays a report from The Wall Street Journal which indicates that industry and government officials believe that the spacecraft reentered the Earth's atmosphere with the second stage of the Falcon 9 system. The planned separation of the payload from the second stage did not happen as it should have, according to the Journal report.

A spokesperson for SpaceX told Fox News that the company does not comment on classified missions, but "as of right now reviews of the data indicate Falcon 9 performed nominally."

Members of Congress have been briefed on the situation. There has been no official comment from the government, but the Pentagon's Strategic Command, which catalogs satellites in orbit around the Earth, has not been updated showing were Zuma is, the paper reports.

(NASA image)

FMI: Original report

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