Musk Satellite Mystery Deepens: SpaceX Denies Doing Anything Wrong

Following the launch of the secretive Zuma satellite  into space aboard SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket from Cape Canaveral, reports circulated that the new eye in the sky, which is worth billions, "is presumed to be a total loss after it failed to reach orbit."

Of course, this, one would think, is a serious blow to Elon Musk's ambitions, since government contracts can tend to be extremely lucrative and taxpayers will now demand alternatives to the Musk venture. Further, the company faces fierce competition for ULA, operated by Boeing and Lockheed Martin, who will kick off its 2018 launch schedule with a Wednesday flight. 

But the mystery around the launch and the payload continues, as in an emailed statement, company President and COO Gwynne Shotwell, said that the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that took off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Sunday "did everything correctly."

“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. Falcon Heavy has been rolled out to launchpad LC-39A for a static fire later this week, to be followed shortly thereafter by its maiden flight. We are also preparing for an F9 launch for SES and the Luxembourg Government from SLC-40 in three weeks.”

Which is odd since Bloomberg reports that the second-stage booster section of the Falcon 9 failed, said a U.S. official and two congressional aides familiar with the launch, who asked not to be named because the matter is private. The satellite was lost, one of the aides said, and the other said both the satellite and second-stage rocket fell into the ocean.

Additionally, Tim Paynter, a spokesman for Northrop Grumman Corp., which was commissioned by the Defense Department to choose the launch contractor, said “we cannot comment on classified missions.”

Army Lieutenant Colonel Jamie Davis, the Pentagon spokesman for space policy, referred questions to SpaceX.

As we concluded previously, the failure comes at a very sensitive time for SpaceX:  Musk’s closely held company has projected ramping up its overall launch rate to more than 25 missions in 2018, from 18 in 2017, and is scheduled to start ferrying U.S. astronauts to the international space station before the end of the year.

Good luck to them all, because while Musk is certainly best known for his success, we can now add one more failure to the list.


Beam Me Up Scotty Bes Tue, 01/09/2018 - 10:26 Permalink

I'd say its all fake news.  The satelite is probably beeping away circling the earth.  If its a classified mission and they can't talk about it, why did they even bother to say it failed?  They just want "someone" to think it failed.  Not sure who someone is, but its certainly not the average american taxpayer.  They aren't hard to dupe.

In reply to by Bes

AnarchistRex TruxtonSpangler Tue, 01/09/2018 - 22:15 Permalink

That's right, he's literally launching one of his Tesla's into space on the falcon heavy later this month (if all goes well).  He's said however that, given the complexity of the experiment, if it only clears the launchpad, it will be a success ... meaning that the data gleaned will help them build it better in the future. On the other hand, if it works, it will be the first commercial production car launched into space.

In reply to by TruxtonSpangler

Bring the Gold macholatte Tue, 01/09/2018 - 11:53 Permalink

Yup, while only idiot partisan propagandists, like Nmewn, believe the official story on 9/11, even the official story held no one accountable. Medals were handed out for supposed failure (CIA Head) and budgets massively boosted. Once people swallowed that crock of shit accountability became a thing of the past for the peasants only. 

In reply to by macholatte

ThorAss Bring the Gold Tue, 01/09/2018 - 14:26 Permalink

This is probably the easiest way to identify a false flag. Was anyone ever tried for the crime? No, I mean really! No? Then you have a prima facie false flag. [JFK, 911, Las Vegas, Pearl Harbor etc.] Yes? Is the perp of exceedingly low intelligence, on drugs, brainwashed? Did the perp deny doing it but pleaded guilty anyway? [RFK, Port Arthur Massacre (Oz) etc.]

Would be comical if twern't so damnably real.

In reply to by Bring the Gold

Miner macholatte Tue, 01/09/2018 - 13:59 Permalink

>> "We cannot comment on classified missions except to say that the tax payer will take it in the ass."


Space payloads, particularly commercial ones, are insured against loss.  Lloyds of London might take a hit, but not the taxpayer.

In reply to by macholatte

RationalLuddite RafterManFMJ Tue, 01/09/2018 - 15:56 Permalink



When every tiny piece of space junk can be plotted and tracked they ain't going to fool anyone pretending a satellite isn't there you idiots. You hide the truth when you can control the access to information through independent corroboration,  or leave significant interpretive uncertainty. Not when any fuckin amateur geek could use some radio shack tech to confirm a new satellite in 1 hour flat. For fuck's sake guys, spend 30 seconds researching before you type. Teenagers can find spy satellites,  so i reakon the Chinese et al can in a millisecond

In reply to by RafterManFMJ

MEFOBILLS Txpl9421 Tue, 01/09/2018 - 12:13 Permalink

An E-bomb is an emp pulse, and NOT NUCLEAR.

You charge up a coil and discharge it quickly.  E= L dI/dt.  Let dt be very short, and you can get a lot of charge.

An ebomb is a focused emp pulse.  A nuclear bomb set off in the upper atmosphere, roils said atmosphere creating the pulse over large area.

The very long baseline array used for submarines is immune to this nuclear effect.

Be careful about who you are calling out, unless you know your subject cold. 

In reply to by Txpl9421

CPL BaBaBouy Tue, 01/09/2018 - 10:38 Permalink

He started with making golf carts that underperform in a well defined marketplace with every piece of information available and gobs of capital...and did nearly nothing.  Who honestly believed he'd be capable of doing anything in space?  'I did' said no one ever.

Someone pull his funding, he's just throwing it all down a hole with zero return.  Failed investment isn't worth keeping and there's more than enough bullshit artists out there to fill his boots.

In reply to by BaBaBouy

caconhma docloxvio Tue, 01/09/2018 - 16:49 Permalink

Any satellite primary business is to transmit data/info. As soon as it does, everybody (US, Russia, China, etc.,) know about its existence and location. Since it is a spy satellite, its transmission flow is highly encrypted. This is all. 

By the way, US, China, Russia are tracking all satellites and all space debris. So, nothing is "missing"!

Finally, without collecting and analyzing ALL telemetry data, there is no way to know what went wrong. It will take a month to do the job at best and then it will take 6+ months at best to fix it (assuming SpaceX did not bribe the Pentagon high brass).


In reply to by docloxvio

nonclaim Joe Davola Tue, 01/09/2018 - 10:48 Permalink

Yes, and also based on what is the intended use.

But since this was a classified launch no one in the public knows when and where the second stage pushed the sat to, or when or where the sat pushed itself to after release... Other major players (Russia, China) are so far very quiet about it too, and I'd take that as a good sign the sat is up there. A spy sat is very quiet while burning debris would trigger many alert systems.

The video feed was cut after the second stage separation as usual for classified launch, except this time someone decided to make that a sign of failure...

In reply to by Joe Davola