A military satellite launched by Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies appears to have crashed into the sea following a malfunction in the latter stages of its ascent, representing a potential setback for the billionaire’s rocket programme. The mission – referred to by the code name “Zuma”- took off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Sunday on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. But the US Strategic Command, which monitors more than 23 000 man-made objects in space, said it is not tracking any new satellites following the launch.
A US official and two congressional aides familiar with the launch said on condition of anonymity that the second-stage booster section of the Falcon 9 failed. The satellite was lost, one of the aides said, and the other said both the satellite and second-stage rocket fell into the ocean.