Mysterious US government spy satellite believed to be lost after SpaceX launch

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The satellite named Zuma was destroyed after failing to properly separate from the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, Dow Jones reported. In September 2016, Facebook's internet satellite was destroyed when the Falcon 9 rocket carrying it exploded.

SpaceX on Sunday blasted off a secretive US government payload known as Zuma, a mission whose nature - and the agency behind it - remains a mystery.

UPDATE [1/9/18, 1:05 p.m. EST]: SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell released a statement Tuesday, saying their rocket, Falcon 9, "did everything correctly". The strange thing about the Falcon Heavy is, it will carry a Tesla Roadster to Mars.

SpaceX is led by Elon Musk and has been rapidly expanding its launch business, which includes NASA, national security and commercial missions.

The Zuma secret satellite was manufactured by Northrop Grumman manufactured. The company has said it plans to launch roughly 30 missions in 2018 after completing a record 18 last year.

"As a company, Northrop Grumman realizes this is a monumental responsibility and we have taken great care to ensure the most affordable and lowest risk scenario for Zuma", Rains said, declining to comment on the nature of the payload.

Shotwell said no changes are expected in SpaceX's upcoming launch schedule "since the data reviewed so far indicates that no design, operational or other changes are needed". It certainly looks like something went amiss, although the first stage of the Falcon 9 did manage a success re-landing.

The Falcon 9 rocket carried Zuma, a U.S. government spacecraft, into low-Earth orbit. However, experts have claimed that after separation, the satellite was lost in space, the Daily Mail reports. "We cannot comment on classified programs".

Roughly a minute and a half into the launch, the rocket reached maximum dynamic pressure or max-Q. The company has recently ramped up its launch pace, even launching two different missions from opposite coasts within about 48 hours. And the rocket apparently did its job properly, SpaceX representatives said. Or maybe the satellite somehow malfunctioned and accidentally maneuvered itself on a path toward the planet.

The fact that SpaceX says the Falcon Heavy launch will move forward as scheduled also indicates there were no issues with the rocket.