Elon Musk’s firm SpaceX has undertaken a number of top secret projects for the government and Zuma was the latest one launched on January 7. It was supposed to go into low Earth orbit, but that did not happen. The reasons are being investigated, but the U.S. Air Force has given the firm a clean chit based on preliminary findings.

According to Space, this proves that the performance of the Falcon-9 rocket was according to expectations. The authorities have made a categorical statement and confirmed that the certification status of Falcon-9 remains intact.

The matter is under investigation to establish the probable reasons. The telemetry of the liftoff is expected to play an important role.

What went wrong?

Zuma mission was a top-secret mission of the government. It involved USAF, the aerospace company Northrop Grumman and SpaceX. Northrop provided the payload and adaptor that connected Zuma to the second stage of the rocket. SpaceX was responsible to launch it into orbit using its Falcon-9 rocket.

Unconfirmed reports indicate that Zuma failed to reach the planned orbit because it did not separate from the second stage of the rocket and ended up on the ground along with the launch gear. However, the reusable first stage of the Falcon-9 rocket landed back on its designated landing strip.

Obviously, the attention will be focused on Northrop Grumman.

Incidentally, Zuma was the third national-security mission that SpaceX handled for the U.S. government. It had successfully launched a satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office in May and a robotic spaceplane for the USAF in September. Both of these were in 2017.

Future activities of SpaceX

Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX is a visionary and has ensured that it contributes to space research in a big way. He has introduced the unique concept of reusable rockets to reduce the cost of launch. He also wants mankind to colonize Mars.

The Atlantic adds that on the subject of its association with the Zuma mission, Gwynne Shotwell, the president, and COO of SpaceX has indicated that the incident will not affect other launch schedules.

The company is going ahead with its preparations for the Falcon Heavy, and the public will be able to follow its trajectory unlike that of Zuma which was a top-secret mission.

According to Teslarati, the payload of the Falcon Heavy to Mars in its fully reusable configuration will be huge, and sending a Roadster in it, without its battery, is possible. Of course, it would depend on the second stage of the Falcon 9 rocket and its ability to survive the journey to Mars which could take months.