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Rocket Launch This Evening
Post by Swamprat on Jan 7th, 2018, 11:06am

SpaceX to Launch Mysterious Zuma Spacecraft Tonight: Watch It Live

By Mike Wall, Space.com Senior Writer
January 7, 2018

SpaceX plans to launch the secret Zuma payload for the U.S. government this evening (Jan. 7), after a nearly two-month delay.

Zuma is scheduled to lift off atop a two-stage Falcon 9 rocket from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station tonight between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. EST (0100 to 0300 GMT on Jan. 8). You can watch it live here at Space.com, courtesy of the company. You can also watch the liftoff directly from SpaceX's live webcast page here.

Sunday's launch will also include a landing attempt by the Falcon 9's first stage, which will come back down to Earth at Landing Zone 1, a SpaceX facility at Cape Canaveral. To date, SpaceX has pulled off 20 such first-stage landings, which are part of its push to develop fully and rapidly reusable rockets.Zuma is a U.S. government spacecraft headed to low-Earth orbit. But that's pretty much all that outside observers know about it; everyone involved with the mission has remained pretty tight-lipped.


Re: Rocket Launch This Evening
Post by Nyx on Jan 8th, 2018, 9:48pm

Zuma is missing costing the U.S. billions of dollars.

No comment from the government on this super secretive satellite.

Re: Rocket Launch This Evening
Post by Swamprat on Jan 9th, 2018, 09:28am


U.S. Spy Satellite Believed Lost After SpaceX Mission Fails

Secret payload code-named Zuma failed to reach orbit after Sunday launch; industry officials estimate satellite worth billions

By Andy Pasztor
Updated Jan. 9, 2018 12:37 a.m. ET

An expensive, highly classified U.S. spy satellite is presumed to be a total loss after it failed to reach orbit atop a Space Exploration Technologies Corp. rocket on Sunday, according to industry and government officials.

Lawmakers and congressional staffers from the Senate and the House have been briefed about the botched mission, some of the officials said. The secret payload—code-named Zuma and launched from Florida on board a Falcon 9 rocket—is believed to have plummeted back into the atmosphere, they said, because it didn’t separate as planned from the upper part of the rocket.

Once the engine powering the rocket’s expendable second stage stops firing, whatever it is carrying is supposed to separate and proceed on its own trajectory. If a satellite isn’t set free at the right time or is damaged upon release, it can be dragged back toward earth.

Scheduled for mid-November, Zuma’s launch was delayed when SpaceX announced engineers “wanted to take a closer look at data from recent” tests of a fairing, or protective covering for a satellite, used for another customer. At the time, the company didn’t publicly outline what prompted the additional testing. Fairings are used to shield satellites that are carried near the nose of the rocket. They remain in place during the early phases of the ascent, but are jettisoned before final insertion into orbit.During the launch, SpaceX didn’t signal any problems with the fairing or associated hardware. Since then, it has declined to indicate whether such issues caused or contributed to Sunday’s missteps.

The lack of details about what occurred means that some possible alternate sequence of events other than a failed separation may have been the culprit.

For rapidly growing SpaceX, which seeks to establish itself as a reliable, low-cost launch provider for the Pentagon, the failed mission came at an important juncture. The company is competing for more national-security launches against its primary rival, a joint venture between Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp.

As of Monday night, nearly 24 hours after the launch, uncertainty surrounded both the mission and the fate of the satellite, which some industry officials estimated carried a price tag in the billions of dollars. Notably, the Pentagon’s Strategic Command, which keeps track of all commercial, scientific and national-security satellites along with space debris, hadn’t updated its catalog of objects to reflect a new satellite circling the planet.

Neither Northrop Grumman Corp., which built the satellite, nor SpaceX, as Elon Musk’s space-transportation company is called, has shed light on what happened.

A Northrop Grumman spokesman said, “We cannot comment on classified missions.”

A SpaceX spokesman said: “We do not comment on missions of this nature, but as of right now reviews of the data indicate Falcon 9 performed nominally.” That terminology typically indicates that the rocket’s engines and navigation systems operated without glitches. The spokesman declined to elaborate.

It isn’t clear what job the satellite was intended to perform, or even which U.S. agency contracted for the satellite. As usual for classified launches, the information released by SpaceX before liftoff was bereft of details about the payload. A video broadcast Sunday night narrated by a SpaceX official didn’t provide any hint of problems, though the feed ended before the planned deployment of the satellite.

Mr. Musk’s closely held, Southern California-based company has projected ramping up its overall launch rate to more than 25 missions in 2018, from 18 in 2017, and is scheduled to start ferrying U.S. astronauts to the international space station before the end of the year.

If preparations remain on track, SpaceX later this month anticipates the maiden launch of its long-delayed Falcon Heavy rocket, featuring 27 engines putting out more power than roughly 18 Boeing 747 jumbo jets.

Northrop Grumman not only was the prime contractor for the satellite, it was also responsible for choosing the launch provider. Despite SpaceX’s growing list of accomplishments, including routinely landing, refurbishing and reusing the main stages of Falcon 9 boosters, industry and government officials have said some in the intelligence community continue to have qualms about relying on Mr. Musk’s nontraditional business practices.


Re: Rocket Launch This Evening
Post by GhostofEd on Jan 9th, 2018, 10:23am

I hope people are not automatically buying that story on face value. What if this is a cover story for a suscessful mission to fool the masses? SpaceX is saying everything was fine. It could be in orbit concealed with new cloaking device technology. Can't believe anything anymore. grin
Re: Rocket Launch This Evening
Post by ZETAR on Jan 9th, 2018, 10:46am


"I hope people are not automatically buying that story on face value. What if this is a cover story for a suscessful mission to fool the masses?"


User Image


"What if this is a cover story for a suscessful mission to" PROVIDE A FALSE SENSE OF SECURITY FOR/TO OUR ADVERSARIES wink


User Image

OR RUSE cool

Re: Rocket Launch This Evening
Post by Nyx on Jan 9th, 2018, 1:19pm

The E.T.s ate Zuma.

Somehow billion and billions of dollars lost make me kinda sick, especially since the Republicans want to cut Medicare and Social Security.
Re: Rocket Launch This Evening
Post by Swamprat on Jan 10th, 2018, 1:52pm

Uh,,,, wait a minute! What's that strange smell? Is that DECEPTION I sniff?! shocked

What Happened to Zuma? What We Know About Secret SpaceX Mission

By Rafi Letzter, Staff Writer
January 10, 2018 11:25am ET

First, here's what's known:

SpaceX, as usual, livestreamed the launch, and everything appeared to go as planned. Then, as usual with classified payloads, the livestream cut off before the separation of the nose cone and deployment of the satellite it holds. However, unusually, neither SpaceX nor Northrop Grumman (the company that built Zuma) initially confirmed a successful launch. The next datapoint came from U.S. Strategic Command, part of the Department of Defense that tracks all such orbiters. STRATEGIC COMMAND ADDED A NEW SATELLITE TO ITS SPACE-TRACK.ORG CATALOG AFTER THE LAUNCH, DESIGNATED USA 280, but — as usual for classified objects — did not provide an orbital path.


The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg then reported, drawing on government sources, that Zuma did not separate from the rocket. Bloomberg reports that the upper stage failed, and the Journal reports that the spacecraft fell back to Earth. The upper or second stage of the rocket is the section just below the payload. Once the first stage helps boost the entire craft to a certain altitude, it gets released and the upper stage ignites to ultimately bring the payload to its final orbit. "Following first stage separation, the second stage Merlin ignites and takes the payload to a parking orbit before igniting again to place the payload into its final orbit. Once the second stage orbit ignites, the payload fairing is jettisoned," Spaceflight Insider reports.

However, SpaceX is sending signals that — at least on that company's end — everything worked properly. In a pair of statements to Grush, the company said "reviews of the data indicate Falcon 9 performed nominally" and later, from President/COO Gwynne Shotwell, "For clarity: after review of all data to date, Falcon 9 did everything correctly on Sunday night."

What does all of this mean? It's unclear. But Grush writes that SpaceX appears to be trying hard to communicate that it did everything right, without excluding the possibility that there was a failure once things entered Northrop's sphere of responsibility. It's certainly possible that SpaceX's Falcon 9 successfully lofted Zuma to orbit, but that Zuma failed to deploy or operate properly after deployment.

It might become clearer in the coming weeks whether a new satellite now orbits the Earth, alive or dead, as amateur astronomers try to spot the object. Already, one such early datapoint has come in: Peter Horstink, the Dutch pilot of a Boeing 747-400 freighter flying at 35,000 feet (about 10,700 meters) just north of Khartoum, Sudan, photographed a green-blue "spiral" that, according to SatTrackCam Leiden's blog, was likely the result of the Falcon 9 upper stage depressurizing and venting fuel.

Read Grush's full report at The Verge: https://www.theverge.com/2018/1/9/16866806/spacex-zuma-mission-failure-northrop-grumman-classified-falcon-9-rocket


Re: Rocket Launch This Evening
Post by thelmadonna on Jan 10th, 2018, 5:16pm

Does anyone else think there could ve a ;ink here?

A flash seen over a wide swath of Russia on January 7 at first caused fears of a U.S. air strike on North Korea. For now, the flash is unexplained.
Re: Rocket Launch This Evening
Post by Swamprat on Jan 11th, 2018, 09:40am

Did the "failed launch" cause the Russian light? Excellent question! I haven't had time to track down the event time correlations, but it might prove to be interesting!

However, if it IS related, and if the military IS up to some shenanigans to "keep a spy satellite unidentified", we probably won't get any confirmation.....

Re: Rocket Launch This Evening
Post by Nyx on Jan 12th, 2018, 5:30pm

Wild rumors claim this had nothing to do with the Pentagon.

Rumors claim this was a project between the CIA and Northrup Grumman and Space X was just the delivery.

The Space-X rocket worked just fine, but the payload package went bad.