On Sunday, a United States spy satellite was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The satellite was launched by a SpaceX rocket and as two U.S. officials reported on a briefing of the mission the satellite failed to reach orbit and is assumed to be a total loss.
The classified intelligence satellite was built by Northrop Grumman Corp, but it failed to separate from the second stage of the Falcon 9 rocket and has probably broken up in the atmosphere or has fallen into to the sea, the two officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity, Reuters reports.
The satellite is assumed to be “a write-off,” one of the officials said to a Reuters journalist.
After the Sunday launch, SpaceX said that it was successful and that the Falcon 9 rocket had successfully landed back on their platform.
The alleged loss of the spy satellite was first reported by the Wall Street Journal. Zuma was the code name of the multibillion-dollar spy satellite that was built by Northrop Grumman, which was responsible for choosing the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch rocket, both officials confirmed.
An investigation is underway but there is no initial indication of sabotage or other interference, they added.
James Gleeson who is a spokesman for SpaceX said that they do not usually comment on such missions, but according to their data, the Falcon 9 performed in accordance with mission specs.
“We do not comment on missions of this nature; but as of right now reviews of the data indicate Falcon 9 performed nominally,” Gleeson said.
Space Exploration Technologies Corp that is led by the innovator and entrepreneur Elon Musk came into the public eye when the company managed to lend the same rocket they used to reach earth orbit, making launching satellites much more cheaper than before since the same rocket can be used more times.
SpaceX has taken many U.S. military satellites in orbit since the first launch in May last year.