SpaceX launches secret Zuma craft for US government

SpaceX launches secret Zuma craft for US government

Anticipations suggest that it could be a national-security mission, as SpaceX already has recorded of launching a satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office in May 2017 and of the Air Force's robotic X-37B space plane last September. What we know for sure is that the first stage of the rocket behaved nominally enough such that it was able to safely return to Earth and make a land-based landing along the Florida coast.

It was not immediately clear that if the failure of this mission was due to problems with SpaceX rocket or with the Zuma's spacecraft.SpaceX issued a statement on Tuesday stating that the rocket performed as designed.

"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", Shotwell added.

Tim Paynter, a spokesman for Northrop Corp., which was commissioned by the Defense Department to choose the launch contractor, said "we cannot comment on classified missions", and Army Lieutenant Colonel Jamie Davis, the Pentagon's spokesman for space policy, referred questions to SpaceX.

Zuma was launched by Space from its SLC-40 launch facility at Cape Canaveral in Florida.

One Twitter user said: "I was enjoying watching until you cut the feed prior to stage 2 (T-2)".

It has been competing with other private companies to launch more military payloads. However, experts have claimed that after separation, the satellite was lost in space, the Daily Mail reports. That part all went fine, and Elon Musk even shared a long-exposure image showing the rocket's launch and subsequent landing.

On Sunday, Zuma was delivered to low-Earth orbit, which is typically defined as any orbital path less than about 1,200 miles above the Earth's surface, according to NASA.

Actions taken by SpaceX on Monday indicate its confidence in the rocket's performance during the Zuma launch.

Last week, SpaceX finally declared that both the rocket and the payload were "healthy" and ready for launch. Cheers erupted at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California as the rocket glided seamlessly down to the ground.

"I can't conclude anything definitely", said Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who avidly tracks the comings and goings of space objects.