>The Wall Street Journal and other sources, including our own, had suggested that Zuma failed to separate from the second stage of the Falcon 9 rocket following successful first stage separation, at which point it potentially fell back to Earth and was lost in the ocean.
They're really downplaying how bad their coverage was, it really feels like people love to watch Space X fail. For example:
WSJ Headline: "U.S. Spy Satellite Believed Lost After SpaceX Mission Fails"
TC Headline: "SpaceX apparently lost the classified Zuma payload from latest launch"
SpaceX is getting paid for a successful launch, meeting their contractual obligations. The booster landed perfectly. There's no damage to the launchpad delaying other rockets. There's no investigation into "what went wrong?" holding back further launches. No real customer is looking at this and going "Wait, maybe we'd better use ULA instead!" because they know SpaceX launched just fine.
This is an absolute win for SpaceX, despite however anyone wants to spin it. Dramatic headlines about the downfall of the successful sell newspapers, but they don't mean anything real.
This was an interesting launch. Launch was delayed a couple times IIRC, at least once due to them wanting to review data from fairing tests. Classified payload, so no video of fairing separation. On the webcast, the host went silent for over a minute when fairing separation should have occurred, before coming back with
> sigh alright so we'll address the fairing deployment here in a second once we have more information
Indicating something might be up. Later he just says
> Quick sidebar, we did get successful confirmation that the fairings did deploy.
So seems like they knew something was up with the payload at that point, but that their telemetry indicated their mission was successful.
As others have noted, it was Northrop Grumman who was responsible for the payload adaptor attaching it to second stage. So unless fairing deployment or the launch damaged the payload/adaptor somehow, SpaceX would have done their part.
The launch of a super secret spy satellite failed, the satellite is lost. No need to worry about a new spy in the sky?
Seems like the sort of thing you'd HAVE to say about a secret satellite... :-)
For anyone looking for more technical and "inside" intel on this I suggest https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/7p7ev8/official_rsp...
My explanation of choice as of today is that NG launched a refueling (dockable) sat to a previously launched spysat.
If true, this sounds like the best possible outcome: SpaceX succeeded and will continue getting closer to Mars, and the NSA or whoever essentially burned money without getting any more powerful.
Northrop was in charge of the payload adapter mounting the satellite so as long as hand over took place I don't see how Space X has an issue other than being tied in search results to the loss
Or. The Zuma payload is working exactly as intended and will be forgotten in a weeks time once this fades from daily news. Might be a good time to reinforce your tinfoil hats.
We'll see how long this blame game continues. My guess is that it Spacex will continue launching rockets (as normal) and Northrop will keep getting Satellite contracts. The fuss will likely fade away if the satellite (or whatever it is) functioned as normal.
I tend to believe this is just misinformation until someone finds some hard evidence otherwise.
I wonder if the rocket was recycled like previous SpaceX rockets? https://latechnews.org/spacex-launches-bulgariasat-1-recycle...
There are no credible sources claiming that Zuma failed. All the news we have heard is rumour and conjecture, with no two reports getting anything like a consistent story.
F9 S2 deorbited as expected. S2 got to orbit. Thus the payload got to orbit too.
Is there insurance for these things? A billion-dollar satellite costs each person in the USA ~ $3.10.
This is stupid. Nothing went wrong during the launch. It's a top-secret satellite they are not commenting on. Move along.
I don't see anything contradictory here.
Media says Zuma didn't make orbit.
SpaceX says everything worked the way it should have.
I think the flaw is in the second-guessers assuming the mission was to make orbit, and not to test some kind of (laser?) anti-rocket/satellite technology.