News ID: 207802
Published: 0449 GMT January 09, 2018

US spy satellite destroyed after SpaceX launch: Officials

US spy satellite destroyed after SpaceX launch: Officials
This photo shows A Falcon nine rocket carrying the unmanned X-37B drone lifting off. (AFP)

A US spy satellite that was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, aboard a SpaceX rocket on Sunday failed to reach orbit and is assumed to be a total loss, two US officials briefed on the mission have revealed.

The classified intelligence satellite, built by Northrop Grumman Corp, failed to separate from the second stage of the Falcon nine rocket on Monday and is assumed to have broken up or plunged into the sea, said the two officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, reported.

The satellite is assumed to be ‘a write-off,’ one of the officials said.

The presumed loss of the satellite was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Northrop Grumman built the multibillion-dollar satellite, code-named Zuma, and was responsible for choosing the SpaceX Falcon nine launch vehicle, both officials said.

SpaceX has blasted off a secretive US government payload known as Zuma.

An investigation is under way, but there is no initial indication of sabotage or other interference, they said.

SpaceX spokesman James Gleeson said: “We do not comment on missions of this nature; but as of right now reviews of the data indicate Falcon nine performed nominally.”

Space Exploration Technologies Corp, led by entrepreneur Elon Musk, launched its first satellite for the US military with its Falcon nine rocket in May of last year.

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