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Old 01-09-2018, 03:12 PM
 
6,444 posts, read 3,453,370 times
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So here we have an ordinary run of the mill satellite launched by SpaceX and built by Northrup Grumman. Well, maybe not that ordinary. Word is it's valued somewhere in the billion dollar range, and this was a very tight lipped secretive payload launch.

I wonder how this will affect the future of these two companies, and also wonder where the government fits in with all of this. I don't believe any agency was publicly announced that was paying for the use of the supposedly lost satellite. I certainly don't think much will come out of Washington on this.
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Old 01-09-2018, 03:33 PM
 
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No one is talking much, which is to be expected.

If it's true that the problem was due to payload separation failure, and if it's true that Northrop Grumman built the payload adapter, well - that's on NG. That's provided that the Falcon 9 worked as per spec, but SpaceX have been launching those at a rate of one every 3 weeks over the last year, so it' probably fair to say it's a fairly well-tested piece of kit.

If there had been a noticeable 2nd stage malfunction, the "amateur" skywatchers who follow this sort of thing would notice. I put "amateur" in quotation marks, because they are some pretty smart cookies with very good gear - they keep tabs on where the XB-37 goes, for instance. They'd spot a major problem with performance or trajectory.

In short, from what we can see, Northrop Grumman seems to be holding the bag right now.

Then there's the 3rd, slightly tinfoil-hatty possibility: That the launch worked just fine and Zuma is a testbed for some hush-hush stealthy satellite tech, orbiting without being seen.
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Old 01-09-2018, 03:40 PM
 
3,144 posts, read 885,161 times
Reputation: 2472
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dane_in_LA View Post
No one is talking much, which is to be expected.

If it's true that the problem was due to payload separation failure, and if it's true that Northrop Grumman built the payload adapter, well - that's on NG. That's provided that the Falcon 9 worked as per spec, but SpaceX have been launching those at a rate of one every 3 weeks over the last year, so it' probably fair to say it's a fairly well-tested piece of kit.

If there had been a noticeable 2nd stage malfunction, the "amateur" skywatchers who follow this sort of thing would notice. I put "amateur" in quotation marks, because they are some pretty smart cookies with very good gear - they keep tabs on where the XB-37 goes, for instance. They'd spot a major problem with performance or trajectory.

In short, from what we can see, Northrop Grumman seems to be holding the bag right now.

Then there's the 3rd, slightly tinfoil-hatty possibility: That the launch worked just fine and Zuma is a testbed for some hush-hush stealthy satellite tech, orbiting without being seen.
Sure is a perfect setup though. Super-secret launch, special adapter built by a 3rd party that allows both SpaceX and Grumman to point fingers at each other, the failure occurring at the perfect point in the mission for this theory, and the possibility of the satellite being stealthy enough to not be detected. What better way to get a satellite up there that goes beyond super-secret?

SpaceX has already said they see no problem on their side, so all their scheduled launches are going to proceed without delay or investigating. That may be a first -- no investigation after a mission failure.
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Old 01-09-2018, 03:45 PM
 
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Im betting on it not failing to be honest. I'd guess stealthy orbital satellite.
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Old 01-09-2018, 03:48 PM
 
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I watched the launch from my house. It was a beautiful launch. Seemed to go in a different direction from past launches which could mean nothing

I am a child of the space age and love to watch
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Old 01-09-2018, 03:53 PM
 
26,304 posts, read 12,839,724 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theoldnorthstate View Post
I watched the launch from my house. It was a beautiful launch. Seemed to go in a different direction from past launches which could mean nothing

I am a child of the space age and love to watch
One of my bucket lists is to watch one of these launches. I wish I could manage the spacex heavy launch, but im going to try and catch the first launch of the BFR.

Last edited by greywar; 01-09-2018 at 04:01 PM..
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Old 01-09-2018, 03:58 PM
 
1,152 posts, read 310,121 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greywar View Post
Im betting on it not failing to be honest. I'd guess stealthy orbital satellite.
I'm not one for conspiracy theories, but I'm leaning that way too.

They could have just released it in the wrong direction, or misplaced a decimal point..
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Old 01-09-2018, 03:58 PM
 
5,392 posts, read 6,530,997 times
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Local TV had a special on the KSC tours, events, and museum. Made me want to tootle out there

They made it sound like it is much more than the original capsules/shuttle.
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Old 01-09-2018, 04:00 PM
 
Location: United States
10,949 posts, read 5,065,253 times
Reputation: 5237
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dane_in_LA View Post
No one is talking much, which is to be expected.

If it's true that the problem was due to payload separation failure, and if it's true that Northrop Grumman built the payload adapter, well - that's on NG. That's provided that the Falcon 9 worked as per spec, but SpaceX have been launching those at a rate of one every 3 weeks over the last year, so it' probably fair to say it's a fairly well-tested piece of kit.

If there had been a noticeable 2nd stage malfunction, the "amateur" skywatchers who follow this sort of thing would notice. I put "amateur" in quotation marks, because they are some pretty smart cookies with very good gear - they keep tabs on where the XB-37 goes, for instance. They'd spot a major problem with performance or trajectory.

In short, from what we can see, Northrop Grumman seems to be holding the bag right now.

Then there's the 3rd, slightly tinfoil-hatty possibility: That the launch worked just fine and Zuma is a testbed for some hush-hush stealthy satellite tech, orbiting without being seen.
I've heard that this launch had a secret new weapon system on it, and new system that would be used against North Korea.

I have no idea if that's true of course, but thought I would throw out another tinfoil hat theory.
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Old 01-09-2018, 04:03 PM
 
26,304 posts, read 12,839,724 times
Reputation: 12550
Quote:
Originally Posted by stburr91 View Post
I've heard that this launch had a secret new weapon system on it, and new system that would be used against North Korea.

I have no idea if that's true of course, but thought I would throw out another tinfoil hat theory.
Honestly I can imagine some terrifying satellite based weapons systems. Heck even just metal rods dropped from orbit would be devastating.
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