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"For clarity: after review of all data to date, Falcon 9 did everything correctly on Sunday night".

"Information published that is contrary to this statement is categorically false", said Gwynne Shotwell, chief operating officer of Hawthorne, Calif. -based SpaceX.

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". Apart from that, Bloomberg also reported that the second stage process involving the booster failed to progress in a proper way which caused both the Zuma satellite and Falcon 9 rocket's second stage to fall back into the closest ocean.

When asked about the misstep, Northrop told The Verge it would not publicly comment on a classified mission.

"We are committed to our mission of providing secure satellite communication services for governments and institutions", said Patrick Biewer, GovSat's CEO.

There are conflicting reports about what may have happened.

Reporters Sunday night expected confirmation from Northrop Grumman after officials confirmed the Zuma payload's successful launch, but the announcement never came. Instead, it plunged back into the atmosphere, according to the Journal.

Marco Langbroek, an amateur satellite tracker from the Netherlands who was closely watching Zuma, said evidence shows the rocket's upper stage did achieve orbit. However, the positive presence of the satellite in the orbit can not be confirmed.

The U.S. military's official catalog of human-made objects in space recorded an object that reached orbit attributed to Sunday's Falcon 9 flight. As planned, the main engine was cut around two and a half minutes into the launch, and the Falcon 9 split into stage one and stage two. That will be followed by a January 18 night launch from the Cape of an Atlas V rocket and USA missile warning satellite. However, SpaceX has stopped short of saying the Zuma payload was successfully deployed into orbit.

The satellite launch was SpaceX's third national security mission, and another step toward potentially high-paying contracts through the Department of Defense, Ars Technica. The company has recently ramped up its launch pace, even launching two missions from opposite coasts within about 48 hours.

In 2015, SpaceX was certified by the U.S. Air Force to launch national security satellites. That broke up a longtime and lucrative monopoly held by a joint venture between Lockheed Martin Corp. and Boeing Co. known as United Launch Alliance.

While the authorities are refraining from discussing the fate of Zuma mission, SpaceX is planning on increasing the feasibility of the rockets to make it reusable like airplanes which can significantly decrease the cost incurred during any mission.

"I think the rocket itself is considered an extremely reliable vehicle", he said.

It is notable that White would refer questions to SpaceX, the launch provider.

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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