CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Tech Industry

US spy satellite believed lost after SpaceX launch

Secretive payload failed to reach orbit after Falcon 9 launch, The Wall Street Journal reports.

010718-launch1

A view of the Falcon 9 during first stage flight.

SpaceX

A US intelligence satellite sent into space aboard a SpaceX rocket on Sunday failed to reach orbit and is presumed lost, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday, citing industry and government officials.

The classified satellite, codenamed Zuma, failed to separate as planned from the upper stage of the SpaceX Falcon 9 after its launch Sunday from Cape Canaveral, Florida. It's assumed to have plummeted back into the Earth's atmosphere, the newspaper reported. The satellite, built by Northrup Grumman, is said to have carried a price tag in the billions of dollars.

SpaceX's first successful Falcon 9 rocket launch of 2018 was also probably the most secretive in the company's history. About all we know is that contractor and manufacturer Northrop Grumman booked the launch on behalf of the federal government. SpaceX has done classified launches for the Air Force and National Reconnaissance Office before, but this is the first time the name of the government agency behind the spacecraft being launched isn't even known.

SpaceX said its rocket performed as designed.

"We do not comment on missions of this nature; but as of right now reviews of the data indicate Falcon 9 performed nominally," a SpaceX spokesperson said.

Northrup Grumman representatives didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.     

Solving for XX: The industry seeks to overcome outdated ideas about "women in tech."

Special Reports: All of CNET's most in-depth features in one easy spot.