SpaceX-launched satellite isn't seen in orbit, Pentagon says

Secret US spy satellite may be lost in space after SpaceX launch

Secret US spy satellite may be lost in space after SpaceX launch

But SpaceX is confident that there is no issue with their Falcon 9 booster and the rocket's upper stage successfully carried the Zuma satellite into space.

By all indications, SpaceX pulled off the Sunday launch of the secret Zuma spacecraft with no hitches, sending the second stage well on its way to the Low Earth Orbit as the first reusable stage nailed a pretty good landing eight minutes later in Cape Canaveral.

"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. Northrop Grumman declined comment, citing inability to comment on classified missions. Gwynne Shotwell, president and chief operating officer of SpaceX that if their company or others find otherwise based on further reviews, they would report the same immediately.

Northrop Grumman - which provided the satellite for an undisclosed US government entity - said it can not comment on classified missions. Northrup Grumman, the aerospace contractor that hired SpaceX to sling its "Zuma" satellite into orbit, says it's "classified".

The Zuma mission was a clear success on at least one count: SpaceX successfully landed the rocket's first stage for reuse in a future launch, a key step in its goal to drive down the cost of access to space.

But even if SpaceX's Falcon 9 performed perfectly, it is not a good time for the company, founded by Musk in 2002, to have something happen to such an important payload.

The secretive nature of the launch makes it hard to discern additional details.

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But the spacecraft apparently did not separate as it was supposed to from the upper stage of the rocket and did not reach a stable orbit, according to a USA administration official and two sources who were briefed on the matter. "We can not comment on classified missions". And along with Boeing Co., it has a contract with NASA to fly astronauts to the International Space Station as part of the "Commercial Crew" program, with the first crucial test flight scheduled for the second quarter.

In a statement, the Department of Defense said, "As a matter of policy we do not comment on classified missions".

SpaceX launched two other national security missions past year: a satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office in May and the Pentagon's autonomous space plane, known as the X-37B, in September. Falcon Heavy has been rolled out to launchpad LC-39A for a static fire later this week, to be followed shortly thereafter by its maiden flight.

Falcon Heavy is SpaceX's massive new rocket that will boast three times the thrust of the Falcon 9.

Because of Zuma's secrecy, SpaceX didn't live stream the entire mission as it typically does.

"This is a classified program", Northrop Grumman Communications Director Lon Rains told HuffPost in an emailed statement.

SpaceX competes for military launches with United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin Corp, which was the sole provider for the Pentagon until Musk began a campaign in Congress and the courts challenging what he called an unfair monopoly.

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