Zuma lifted off from SpaceX's Space Launch Complex-40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL on Sunday evening at 8:00 pm ET in what appeared to be a flawless Falcon 9 launch and landing of the first stage.
United Launch Alliance, the joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Boeing created more than a decade ago to launch sensitive satellites for the Pentagon and intelligence community, has always been under fire from Elon Musk's SpaceX, the tenacious upstart that plowed its way into the market by waging war in Washington, D.C.
Shotwell added: "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".
"For clarity: after a review of all data to date, Falcon 9 did everything correctly on Sunday night. We can not comment on classified missions".
A SpaceX rocket worked fine in its weekend launch of a secretive government satellite, named Zuma, the company said Tuesday after reports the payload did not make it into orbit. "If we or others find otherwise based on further review, we will report it immediately", Gwynne Shotwell, the company's president and chief operating officer, said in a statement to Business Insider.
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 declined to comment further, citing the mission's classified status, as did Northrup Grumman, which manufactured the Zuma satellite and hired SpaceX as the launch contractor.
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The Falcon 9 launch, which was tasked to send the Zuma payload into low-Earth orbit, was again recently delayed due to issues with the rocket's nose.
As they battled with SpaceX, ULA's executives launched a "results over rhetoric" campaign, highlighting the company's long heritage in space.
This was SpaceX's third classified mission for the US government, a lucrative customer. The rocket's second stage propels the satellite into orbit.
The secretive nature of the Zuma payload makes reliable details about the mission hard to come by or verify. "We can not comment on a classified mission", he said.
Falcon Heavy is SpaceX's massive new rocket that will boast three times the thrust of the Falcon 9. 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. The episode is also shaping up as a test for the billionaire's ambitions in space - especially SpaceX's hard-won ability to compete for military missions.
The launch is SpaceX's first in what was expected to be a busy year.
Many also suggested that the satellite could not separate from the Falcon 9 upper stage. However, the company has completed more than ten successful supply missions to ISS.
Zuma was SpaceX's third military launch.