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Thu, Jan 25, 2018

SpaceX Still Certified For USAF Launches

Air Force Still Has Confidence In The Company Despite Loss Of Zuma Spacecraft

The U.S. Air Force has no reason to change its certification of SpaceX to conduct launch operations for the military, despite the loss of the Zuma spacecraft earlier this month.

Bloomberg reports that it received a statement from Lieutenant General John Thompson, commander of the Space and Missile Systems Center, saying "Based on the data available, our team did not identify any information that would change SpaceX’s Falcon 9 certification status” following an initial review of the data from the launch.

Thompson went on to say that the Falcon 9 rocket appears to have operated normally during the launch, but he stressed that "the Air Force will continue to evaluate data from all launches.”

SpaceX continues to be certified and eligible to bid for 11 launches planned for fiscal year 2019. One of those is a large contract to boost three GPSIII satellites into space.

With SpaceX apparently in the clear, the focus of the investigation may now turn to Northrop Grumman, which was the prime contractor for the mission. NGC built the satellite, as well as the coupling that was supposed to release it from the rocket's second stage.

Northrop Grumman spokesman Tim Paynter would only say that the company "cannot comment on classified missions."

(Image from file)

FMI: Original report

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