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US DoD mum on fate of secret satellite

12th January 2018 - 12:15 GMT | by ​Agence France-Presse in Washington


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The mystery surrounding the fate of a secret military satellite deepened on 11 January when the US Department of Defense (DoD) refused to answer questions about whether the mission to launch it had gone awry.

On 7 January, SpaceX blasted a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida carrying the secret government satellite, called Zuma.

According to media reports, the billion-dollar payload did not make it into orbit and was presumed to have been lost.

On 9 January, SpaceX said that the rocket worked fine, but its statement left open the possibility that something could have gone wrong after the launch.

Dana White, spokeswoman for the US DoD, said: ‘I would have to refer you to SpaceX, who conducted the launch.’

Lieutenant General Kenneth McKenzie, Director of the Joint Staff, said: ‘I am done. We are not going to be able to give you any more information.’

According to Northrup Grumman, the payload was for the US government and would be delivered to low-Earth orbit.

SpaceX has launched national security payloads in the past including a spy satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office and an X-37B space plane for the US Air Force.

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