Classified satellite fell into ocean after SpaceX launch, official confirms


Last May was the first time SpaceX launched its first satellite for the USA military with its Falcon 9 rocket.

The mission was SpaceX's first launch of 2018 and the company's third classified launch for the US government. The sources would not confirm what exactly the payload was, saying it was classified.

SpaceX recently uploaded a drone video on Twitter that shows off the Falcon Heavy rocket as it was raised on the historic Apollo mission launchpad, ahead of engine tests that are expected to start in days.

"After review of all data to date, Falcon 9 did everything correctly on Sunday night", said the statement from Gwynne Shotwell, president and chief operating officer of SpaceX. If we or others find otherwise based on further review, we will report it immediately.

Launched from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station with a secret mission code-named Zuma, the satellite likely plummeted back into the atmosphere after failing to separate from the rocket, according to The Wall Street Journal. SpaceX has only stated that it doesn't comment on mission of this nature.

"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.

The Falcon's first stage reportedly completed its job, lifting the rocket off the pad and toward space, then separated and landed back at Cape Canaveral, but it's the second stage, which propels the satellite into orbit, that is being questioned as information on it is minimal considering the secrecy surrounding the flight. "National security payloads are a very important potential market for SpaceX". Another Falcon 9, meanwhile, is scheduled to fly in three weeks with a communication satellite for Luxembourg.

For almost a decade, ULA had a monopoly on Pentagon launches. In 2015, the parties settled, and SpaceX was granted the certification that allowed it to bid. The target launch date for the first SpaceX rocket launch of the year is now January 7, attributing the additional delay to extreme weather.

At the time, ULA's then-CEO accused SpaceX of trying to "cut corners" and "taking a risky approach".

Due to the highly classified nature of the payload, however, it's unclear what exactly happened.

Last year was a banner year for the private space company with 18 launches.

In both cases, the company was grounded while it investigated the cause of those problems.