The likely culprit for the failed launch of the payload can be an American Corporation Northrop Grumman.
The Falcon 9 rocket SpaceX is likely not involved in the possible loss of classified American spacecraft Zuma. The most likely culprit for the failed launch of the payload can be an American Corporation Northrop Grumman.
Phil Larsen, who previously worked in the press service of SpaceX, as well as in 2009-2014 held the post of senior adviser for space and innovation in the administration of the 44th President Barack Obama, remarked that the publication of The Wall Street Journal “does not contain a key fact”, according to which the adapter payload (it separates the payload from the rocket) for Zuma made Northrop Grumman.
The expert refers to the publication Wired, which reported that the layout of the payload on the rocket Zuma said the company Northrop Grumman.
On the other hand, ArsTechnica notes that the fairing for Zuma was also supplied by Northrop Grumman.
Usually to launch satellites on Falcon 9 SpaceX used the adapters, and fairings of their own production, although official guidance on useful load for the Falcon 9 it is noted that the adapter may be provided by the manufacturer of the satellite.
Astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell notes that “usually, when you buy a missile launch, you pay for the adapter payload on the upper stage of the rocket, therefore the spacecraft separation from the rocket could be a problem, Northrop Grumman, and SpaceX is not”.
The Falcon 9 with Zuma kicked off on 8 January 2018 to 04:00 Moscow time from the cosmodrome on Cape Canaveral. The first stage of the rocket in about eight minutes made a successful landing. Later payload Zuma (USA 280) a command of the aerospace defense of North America (the addition is performed after at least one revolution of the spacecraft around the Earth, that does not preclude further Assembly of the device from orbit).
Start Falcon 9 with Zuma was the first for SpaceX in 2018. CEO Elon Musk named the spacecraft the most important (expensive) payload ever launched by the company.
Since Monday 8 January 2018, the number of publications, in particular ArsTechnica, The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg, citing its own sources, reported a loss of Zuma. It was noted that the spacecraft does not come loose from the second stage of the Falcon 9 and burned in the atmosphere, or drowned in the ocean.
In Northrop Grumman, the producer of Zuma and adapter payload, declined to comment, citing the secrecy of the mission.
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According to the latest ArsTechnica, currently in the U.S. Congress to investigate the circumstances of the possible loss of Zuma and the role of interaction between SpaceX and Northrop Grumman. The last Corporation in the launch previously collaborated with the Alliance ULA (United Launch Alliance), a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin, not SpaceX.
The cost of Zuma in excess of a billion dollars. The customer start from the state as the purpose of the spacecraft is unknown. Presumably, the load USA 280 is maneuvering intelligence product that can intercept radio signals of satellites of the enemy.