Okay conspiracy theorists....

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1/8/2018 4:35 PM

What's your take on this one? SpaceX launched the highly secret Zuma payload last night (I watched it live). Now I'm reading the payload may not have been successfully placed..... or so they say.....

https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/01/the-zuma-satellite-launched-by-spacex-may-be-lost-sources-tell-ars/

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1/8/2018 4:43 PM

I wonder just how misplaced it really is . A few miles or it's on a course to leave earth orbit.

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1/8/2018 4:46 PM
Edited Date/Time: 1/8/2018 4:47 PM

The problem is that it's a super secret mission so we just may never know. There are some good tinfoil hat comments under the article. Some really good ones if you dig deep enough.

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1/8/2018 4:59 PM

Maybe Kim Jong fat boy is dead.

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GP740
Since 1987

1/8/2018 5:29 PM

It was stolen by aliens of course.

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1/8/2018 5:52 PM

The rumor I've heard is the payload is dead in orbit after 2nd stage separation. That would kind of line up with SpaceX basically acting like the mission was successful. The answer would have to come from Northrup who already said they won't comment on classified missions.

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1/8/2018 6:15 PM

Don't people watch this shit with telescopes?

I would think sending something to Orbit, you kinda have to figure it might just disappear?

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1/8/2018 6:20 PM

I guess if my Northrup Grumman stock takes a crap tomorrow morning we'll know. smile

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1/8/2018 6:30 PM

The short answer is no. High speed ground tracking is only good to the upper atmosphere about 70 miles up. After that the payload is out over the ocean and without knowing exactly where to look and when, it's gone visually. All satellites communicate with ground tracking which we have stations for all over the world, it's how NASA communicates with birds all over the globe. When a satellite goes through start-up it's picked up by this network. Rumor is that start-up never happened.

This is not unprecedented. Just about a year ago a new generation GPS satellite failed to light its engine and stabilize orbit. There was even a shuttle mission that saved a satellite in similar state, repairing the engine so it could circularize. If it really is dead and Northrup deems it important enough, you could see a manned repair mission to shape when SpaceX and Boeing soon to come online with manned flight capability.

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1/8/2018 6:33 PM

Shawn , do you think this was a Spacex problem or a Northrop problem ?

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1/8/2018 6:45 PM
Edited Date/Time: 1/8/2018 6:46 PM

lestat wrote:

Shawn , do you think this was a Spacex problem or a Northrop problem ?

There was no indication of 2nd stage explosion, early burnout, or failure of any kind. Visually the launch was spot on. So my best guess is the rumor is correct. Satellite failed to power up after orbit was finalized and separated from 2nd stage.

I will say this mission has been strange from the get-go. This was suppose to launch in late November before SpaceX's CRS-13 mission. But there was a strange "fairing" issue. After stand down the rocket and payload were moved from 39A to the recently activated pad 40 to make way for Falcon Heavy. That is EXTREMELY strange..

https://spaceflightnow.com/2017/11/16/spacex-delays-launch-to-study-data-from-recent-payload-fairing-test/

A shot in the dark guess is higher minds were concerned about the fairing and payload interacting. Which maybe did happen. If the satellite got shaken and stirred by the launch it could certainly be DOA.

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1/8/2018 7:36 PM

There was another interesting theory going around. When they initially were supposed to launch in November it appeared that the launch time would have put it right on the same orbit as another specific satellite. Then there was the first delay and when the launch was rescheduled if it had gone at that time the orbits wouldn't have matched up with that satellite. But it didn't go and now when it finally did go it did line up with the that other satellites orbits. The speculation was that this mission was either some sort of rendezvous or they wanted to use one satellite to mask the other. The theory was the second launch date was too just throw everyone off the trail. Claiming it was lost would also be to throw people off the trail. Lots of tin foil in that theory of course.

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1/8/2018 7:57 PM

I would believe that if we weren't very good at orbital rendezvous these days. SpaceX especially launches down to the second to meet an exact orbital window. Even Russia has orbital rendezvous down to a science with their ISS launches. The long delay is odd, but the switch in pads is pretty crazy.

Usually the customer is on-site for launches and you hear automatically if the sat acquired signal. But for some of these DOD launches you just don't know. The reason I give the rumor so validity is it must have come from the military or Northrup. Otherwise it would be business as usual.

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1/8/2018 7:57 PM

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1/8/2018 9:16 PM
Edited Date/Time: 1/8/2018 9:17 PM

Failed to separate properly, interesting phrase. What gets me is no matter what it was at orbital velocity. The only way it already ended up in the ocean is if the Falcon 2nd stage did NOT perform nominally, which in that story they clearly say isn't the case. In order for the 2nd stage to slow and burn up in the atmosphere it actually turns itself around and fires for a few seconds to de-orbit which I can't imagine it did with Zuma still hanging off the front.

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1/9/2018 7:27 AM

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1/9/2018 7:56 AM

Sounds like some high level finger.pointing just might be going on.

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1/9/2018 8:10 AM

I think someone picked up the phone and WOPR's 1200 baud modem got dropped !


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"We don't rent pigs."

1/9/2018 8:12 AM

Shall we play a game?

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1/9/2018 9:12 AM

Space X is saying their stuff worked perfect and the mechanism to detach isnt made by them. This is the 2nd expensive (Billions) satellite to be lost. Not counting the facebook satellite.

The video isn't conclusive to me since they cut the feed for about a minute.
They just show it landing back at the pad.

Wouldnt a satellite falling back to earth show up on someones radar, or too small/burned up?

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1/9/2018 9:30 AM
Edited Date/Time: 1/9/2018 9:31 AM

They never show video of the 2nd stage on the classified missions. My guess is more details are forthcoming. smile I am extremely interested to know what the mission of the satellite was, although we probably won't know that for a while. Something that expensive and important raises the curiosity level.

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1/9/2018 10:17 AM

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1/9/2018 10:28 AM

The following statement is from Gwynne Shotwell, President and COO of SpaceX:

“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.”

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1/9/2018 11:42 AM

Its top secret

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If you like uncle tony's meatballs, you'll love his sausage

Now that's Italian

1/9/2018 2:37 PM
Edited Date/Time: 1/9/2018 2:39 PM

Rhino wrote:

Space X is saying their stuff worked perfect and the mechanism to detach isnt made by them. This is the 2nd expensive (Billions) satellite to be lost. Not counting the facebook satellite.

The video isn't conclusive to me since they cut the feed for about a minute.
They just show it landing back at the pad.

Wouldnt a satellite falling back to earth show up on someones radar, or too small/burned up?

What was the 2nd?? They've only had 2 total loss missions previously with Falcon 9. CRS-7, which was a resupply to the ISS with the Dragon capsule, and AMOS-6 which was the Facebook sat. AMOS-6 was valued at about 250 million, of course the NASA stuff on-board Dragon for CRS-7 was never given a public value.

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1/9/2018 4:41 PM

Not sure. Read the same info on some financial site and google news.

I think the guy above is right. Lots of finger pointing.

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1/9/2018 5:23 PM

Zuma's massive EMP generator worked too well and turned on too early. Frying the electronic that controlled Zuma's separation from the 2nd stage rocket.

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“Adhering to 1970’s Standards of Political Correctness”

1/9/2018 5:37 PM

Rhino wrote:

Not sure. Read the same info on some financial site and google news.

I think the guy above is right. Lots of finger pointing.

So far Northrup actually hasn't said anything. SpaceX has to for maintaining consumer confidence. Like I said, a satellite failure at launch isn't anything new, even one made on government contract like this.

I'm not trying to sound like a smart ass questioning you but I imagine that news article was flat out wrong, as a lot are. Main stream news media at best skims through the facts without much checking. I don't mean to come off as a know-it-all but this is my industry, and I worked for SpaceX during the 2 hard years we were making headlines for blowing shit up.

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1/9/2018 5:43 PM
Edited Date/Time: 1/9/2018 5:43 PM

I saw articles mentioning finger pointing, but then I saw no actual finger pointing other than SpaceX said everything looks good from their data. I've not seen Northrup Grumman say anything other than "Classified, can't talk about it." Heck, they probably aren't even talking to SpaceX about it.

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1/10/2018 9:37 AM

XXVoid MainXX wrote:

I saw articles mentioning finger pointing, but then I saw no actual finger pointing other than SpaceX said everything looks good from their data. I've not seen Northrup Grumman say anything other than "Classified, can't talk about it." Heck, they probably aren't even talking to SpaceX about it.

More or less. Another article I read this AM said the Space X guy said the release mechanism and some other stuff is not made by them and they have no comment other than that everything looked good on their end.

Basically NFG. Not their problem. LOL


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