SpaceX successfully launched the secret Zuma mission from Cape Canaveral on Sunday, January 7, 2018 and landed on the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket.
CABO CAÑAVERAL – SpaceX on Monday told a Falcon 9 the rocket seemed to have worked as expected during the launch of the government's Zuma mission Sunday. the night, amid rumors of a possible failure of the mission .
"We do not comment on missions of this nature, but from now on the revisions of the data indicate that Falcon 9 had a nominal performance," a SpaceX spokesman said in a statement.
Northrop Grumman, responsible for the spacecraft and contracted for the launch, did not immediately respond to the questions. 19659008] SpaceX cut off its launch transmission after confirming that the nose cone of the rocket, the cause of a planned launch delay in November, had split a few minutes after 8 p. M. ET Explosion from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. That is the standard procedure during secret national security missions.
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But neither SpaceX nor Northrop subsequently confirmed that the launch was finally successful, as does the United Launch Alliance for its classified missions.
Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, shared a long-exposure photo of Falcon's launch and landing taken by Satellite Beach High student John Kraus on Monday, with no indication that something was wrong.
Marco Langbroek, an amateur satellite tracker from the Netherlands who is experienced in following classified missions and observing Zuma closely, said he had no information to back up the rumors of a failure and "had no idea if they were viable or do not".
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A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station with the secret Zuma. load on Sunday, January 7, 2018. You can see the first stage landing again between the masts of the boat. (Photo: MALCOLM DENEMARK / FLORIDA TODAY)
From Space Coast, the bluish white light seemed to rotate in the sky when the engine of the upper stage of the rocket ignited about 50 miles up, about two and a half . half a minute after takeoff, and the first stage began to fly back to the Cape to land.
But while hitting, the images were probably the result of what meteorologists said were relatively common weather conditions.
Viewers saw the light of Falcon 9 engines illuminated and diffracted through a pair of thin cloud coverings, one at 4,000 feet and the other at approximately 20,000 to 25,000 feet, said Tony Cristaldi, chief meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Melbourne.
The clouds were more widespread along the northeast path of Falcon 9 over the Atlantic Ocean, but they broke on the coast, which provided unobstructed views along the rise of the rocket and the descent of the reinforcement to a landing.
The brightness of the Merlin engines was accentuated in the same way that the light reflected in the high clouds at sunrise or sunset is particularly picturesque.
"The lighting of the rocket boom would cause similar effects when crossing those clouds," said Cristaldi.
The Sunday night show was eye-catching, at least briefly, but it did not spearhead the dramatic scene that southern California residents recently accepted when a Falcon 9 took off near sunset on December 22.
The light of the setting sun enveloped the feather of the rocket in a white bubble with a tail like a comet that transfigured the spectators and went viral on social networks. Musk played along with jokes about UFOs and aliens during the successful launch of the Iridium satellites.
This phenomenon is known as noctilucent clouds. The early birds of September 2, 2015 enjoyed a similar scene on the east coast of Florida when a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying a Navy communications satellite took off from Cape Canaveral about 40 minutes before sunrise.
SpaceX has been preparing for testing and a debut launch of its Falcon Heavy rocket, and for another satellite launch as early as the end of January.
If there is any question about whether Falcon 9 did its work on Sunday night, those preparations would be left pending for further investigation of Zuma's mission.
ULA is preparing to start its 2018 launch schedule with a Wednesday flight from a classified mission of the California National Reconnaissance Office on a Delta IV rocket. Next, a nighttime launch will be launched on January 18 from the Cape of an Atlas V rocket and a US missile warning satellite. UU
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