Clandestine Zuma SpySat’s SpaceX Liftoff Postponed Indefinitely to Resolve Payload Fairing Issue
SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blastoff of clandestine Zuma spysat to low earth orbit for a classified US government customer is postponed indefinitely from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center, FL, from last targeted launch date of 17 Nov 2017. Credit: Ken Kremer/Kenkremer.com
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL – Liftoff of the clandestine spy satellite codenamed ‘Zuma’ on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket has been postponed indefinitely to resolve a lingering issue with the testing of a payload fairing for another customer.
SpaceX announced today, Friday, Nov 17, that they will ‘stand down’ to allow engineers the additional time needed to carefully scrutinize all the pertinent data before proceeding with the top secret Zuma launch.
“We have decided to stand down and take a closer look at data from recent fairing testing for another customer,” said SpaceX spokesman John Taylor.
The super secret ‘Zuma’ spysat is a complete mystery and it has not been claimed by any U.S. government entity – not even the elusive NRO spy agency ! The NRO does claim ownership of a vast fleet of covert and hugely capable orbiting surveillance assets supporting US national security.
Zuma’s goals are veiled in virtually complete darkness. And as far as the taxpaying public is concerned its ownerless.
Originally scheduled for Wednesday evening at 8 p.m. EST Nov 15, the Zuma launch from the Florida Space Coast had already been postponed twice this week before today’s decision to called it off indefinitely.
Covert Zuma spysat is encapsulated inside the nose cose at the top of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in this up-close view from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center, FL, taken on Nov. 17, 2017. An unresolved issue with the nose cone caused indefinite launch postponement. Credit: Ken Kremer/Kenkremer.com
The initial 24 hour delay to Thursday was to deal with unspecified ‘mission assurance’ issues.
The second days delay to Friday was pinned more specifically on the payload fairing or nose cone.
No new targeted launch date has been announced.
“Though we have preserved the range opportunity for tomorrow, we will take the time we need to complete the data review and will then confirm a new launch date,” Taylor stated.
Just exactly what the fairing problem is has not been disclosed. Its also not known if the two delays are related or not.
Zuma was to roar off seaside Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida during a lengthy two hour launch window that extended from 8 to 10 p.m. each targeted day this week.
The Eastern range had been reserved by SpaceX for a potential Saturday launch opportunity as well.
However all mention of the Zuma launch has now been deleted from the website of the 45th Space Wing at Patrick Air Force Base, FL.
The first stage landing legs attached to the side of the SpaceX Falcon 9 booster are seen up close on Nov, 17, 2017 as the rocket awaits blastoff with the unclaimed Zuma surveillance satellite from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center, FL. Credit: Ken Kremer/Kenkremer.com
Forecast weather conditions in central Florida were near perfect over the past few days and spectators would have witnessed a dazzling sky show.
One of the few tidbit we can confirm is that the launch contract was arranged as a commercial enterprise under the auspices of Northrop Grumman Corporation – as a means to significantly slash launch costs for whatever U.S government entity is responsible for Zuma.
That goal is completely in line with SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk’s entire company-wide goal in developing the Falcon and Dragon family of rockets and spaceships.
“The U.S. Government assigned Northrop Grumman the responsibility of acquiring launch services for this mission,” Lon Rains, Northrop Grumman Director of Communications, told Universe Today.
“We have procured the Falcon 9 launch service from SpaceX.”
Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of SpaceX Zuma, KoreaSat-5A & SES-11, ULA NROL-52 and NASA and space mission reports direct from the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news.
Covert Zuma spysat is encapsulated inside the nose cose at the top of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in this up-close view from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center, FL, taken on Nov. 16, 2017. Launch reset to Nov. 17, 2017. Credit: Ken Kremer/Kenkremer.com
The post Clandestine Zuma SpySat’s SpaceX Liftoff Postponed Indefinitely to Resolve Payload Fairing Issue appeared first on Universe Today.
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