Aerospace & Defense

SpaceX says its rocket 'did everything correctly' in botched government satellite launch

Key Points
  • SpaceX said its Falcon 9 rocket "did everything correctly" during a satellite launch gone wrong.
  • The data SpaceX has reviewed so far indicates that no design, operational or other changes are needed at this time.
  • The highly classified satellite is reportedly lost.
US spy satellite launched by SpaceX appears to be lost: Report

SpaceX insists it did everything right during a highly classified government satellite launch that went awry.

The secret U.S. government Zuma satellite launched Sunday is reportedly lost, and little information about what happened to it has been released.

Northrop Grumman said Tuesday it does not comment on classified missions.

However, SpaceX said the Falcon 9 rocket carrying the payload performed as expected.

"For clarity: after review of all data to date, Falcon 9 did everything correctly on Sunday night. If we or others find otherwise based on further review, we will report it immediately. Information published that is contrary to this statement is categorically false. Due to the classified nature of the payload, no further comment is possible.

"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."

SpaceX will still execute its scheduled "static fire" test of the Falcon Heavy rocket at another Cape Canaveral launchpad, Shotwell said. Static fire tests tests the rocket's boosters full thrust, as well as other functions on the rocket and ground support systems. The highly anticipated rocket, which is SpaceX's largest, will take its maiden flight soon after that, she said.

SpaceX also plans to launch another Falcon 9 (F9) for communications provider SES and the Luxembourg government from another launchpad (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral in three weeks.

The satellite was reportedly lost, possibly falling back into the atmosphere, according to The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources.

Very little was known about the mission at all, such as the cost of the satellite and its exact purpose. This was SpaceX's third launch for the U.S. military, according to Ars Technica.

SpaceX has driven down the costs of launching rockets, but has also had some high-profile failures, including an explosion on a launch pad in 2016 that claimed a communications satellite that cost an estimated $300 million to build.

The Falcon 9 rocket landed safely after the launch.