SpaceX postpones 'static test' fire of Falcon Heavy engines

SpaceX postpones 'static test' fire of Falcon Heavy engines

The mission, backed by the United States government, has become the talk of the town because neither the agency behind the liftoff nor the Pentagon are taking responsibility or sharing details about it post the liftoff. It was supposed to separate after the firing of the second stage of a Falcon 9 rocket.

Elon Musk's SpaceX finally launched its mysterious Zuma satellite on Sunday from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Brian Mahlstedt, an automation software engineer at SpaceX, told live-stream viewers: "We're not going to show video coverage of it, but we will confirm that the fairings have separated, meaning that Zuma and second stage are the only vehicles continuing on to their final orbit".

The next satellite assigned to fly on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket has arrived at Cape Canaveral ahead of a planned January 30 liftoff from pad 40 on a previously-flown SpaceX booster.

SpaceX has a six-hour window - from 1 p.m.to 7 p.m. - to fuel and test the 230-foot-tall rocket.

Regardless of the sensitivity of a mission, the Pentagon would be expected to disclose some level of information such as whether an investigation is under way. In 2017, SpaceX completed 18 launches.

According to ArsTechnica, the company has stated that the rocket performed nominally in both the first and second stages during the launch.

However, cameras did not follow stage two of the rocket, and reports suggest Zuma may not have reached its final orbit. "If we or others find otherwise based on further review, we will report it immediately", Shotwell said in the statement.

The company has been preparing to launch its new Falcon Heavy rocket, which is made up of three Falcon 9 engine cores.

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White again referred reporters to SpaceX.

"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", she said.

That includes the debut launch of its Falcon Heavy rocket from Kennedy Space Center. There is no on-the-record confirmation of the success or failure of the mission.

The goal of Zuma's mission was never disclosed, and no government or military agency claimed ownership.

Originally planned to launch back in November, Zuma had a secret payload for the USA government.

An article in Wired said that Northrop Grumman provided the adapter to mate Zuma to the Falcon 9. Questions remained about which national security agency the satellite would have served, as well as its fate. The attachment fixture is normally included in the launch service purchased by the payload's owner.

SpaceX launched two other national security missions a year ago: a satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office in May and the Pentagon's autonomous space plane, known as the X-37B, in September.

If the separation system was to blame for Zuma's rumored demise, the malfunction could have been under the responsibility of Northrop Grumman, not SpaceX. The spokesman for the corporation said that the company isn't at liberty to comment on a classified mission.

In 2015, SpaceX was certified by the U.S. Air Force to launch national security satellites.

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