Adding to the intrigue surrounding Zuma: Reports that Musk has told his team that this is the company's most important/expensive payload ever launched.
(1/5) About the rumours that #Zuma or its Falcon 9 failed: I have a positive, photographically documented observation of the Falcon 9 upper stage venting fuel after re-entry burn, ahead of re-entry, over East Africa some 2h15m after launch. Pretty much where it ought to be.
(2/5) This shows that the Falcon 9 certainly did reach what appears to be the intended 50 deg inclined LEO orbit & did its nominal re-entry burn. NB: it is *normal* for rb to vent fuel after re-entry burn (avoids risk of explosions on orbit creating space debris). #Zuma #SpaceX
(3/5) so if anything went wrong at all (which so far are rumours only, and they need not be true at all), it is either with #Zuma being succesfully deployed but dead on orbit, or not detaching from the Falcon 9 upper stage.
(4/5) So at the moment, I am "suspicious" of these rumours. I would tend to dismiss them, unless a clear statement is issued by @spaceX or the US Government. #Zuma
(5/5) #Zuma will not be visible to observers in the Northern Hemisphere untill a week or two from now, so that is the earliets that we might confirm whether something is on-orbit or not. But for the moment, I believe it is up there.
This is the image taken by Dutch pilot Peter Horstink, from his aircraft over Khartoum near 3:15 UT, 2h 15m after launch. This is probably the Falcon 9 venting fuel. #Zuma
People in Sudan are posting pictures of whatever this is that came over at about 515 am during morning prayers. Whatever it is it's firing an engine or thruster and spinng which isn't that unusual.
We've updated our Zuma story with this comment from @northropgrumman: "This is a classified mission. We cannot comment on classified missions.”https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/01/the-zuma-satellite-launched-by-spacex-may-be-lost-sources-tell-ars/
A highly classified satellite launched by SpaceX this weekend ended up plummeting into the Indian Ocean, a U.S. official confirmed to ABC News.
Lawmakers Look Into SpaceX Launch That Ended With Lost SatelliteBy Erik Wasson, Anthony Capaccio, and Rick Clough10 January 2018, 23:02 GMTLawmakers said they will receive classified briefings on a secret U.S. government satellite that apparently crashed into the sea after it was launched by Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp.“The first statement by SpaceX was that the failure to achieve orbit was not theirs” so there’s no reason so far to question the company’s planned participation in NASA space projects, Senator Bill Nelson of Florida, a former astronaut and the top Democrat on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transport Committee, said Wednesday before being briefed. [...]
Quote from: geza on 01/08/2018 03:49 amStill no confirmation of success? Probably, this misson is so clandestine, that we are not supposed to know, whether it does separate, or doesn"t, or enters the 5th dimension to surprise the aliens there?Best quote Chris G on this:QuoteAchievement unlocked. #SpaceX #Falcon9 #Zumahttps://twitter.com/chrisg_nsf/status/950186092992622593QuoteSo, successful payload separation confirmed? https://twitter.com/trevormahlmann/status/950186325847760896QuoteAssuming so. Since they don’t put out the patches to the media until success is confirmed.https://twitter.com/chrisg_nsf/status/950208781769723904
Still no confirmation of success? Probably, this misson is so clandestine, that we are not supposed to know, whether it does separate, or doesn"t, or enters the 5th dimension to surprise the aliens there?
Achievement unlocked. #SpaceX #Falcon9 #Zuma
So, successful payload separation confirmed?
Assuming so. Since they don’t put out the patches to the media until success is confirmed.