According to news reports SpaceX is not responsible for the loss of Zuma Spy satellite during its launch.
It was on January 7th, 2018 when Zuma lifted off a two-stage Falcon 9 rocket. It was a secret affair for the government of United States. Even the officials were not informed about the particular agency operating Zuma.
Such an important mission failed to succeed as the spacecraft didn’t get separated from the upper stage of Falcon 9, and Zuma fell on the Indian Ocean.
The assumption then turned on what exactly went wrong in the process. Space X insisted that the Falcon 9 performed normally during the flight and there was no such complication.
On the contrary, two different teams of the government of the USA and the aerospace industry have concluded that the main problem started with the payload adapter that connects Zuma to the second stage of Falcon 9.
Northrop Grumman built Zuma for the Government of USA and also provided the payload adapter.
According to Washington State Journal (WSJ), the payload adapter was brought from a sub-contractor, and it was modified and even tested thrice. But unfortunately, upon reaching the orbit, the adapter didn’t detach the satellite from the rocket even in a zero-gravity condition.
The WSJ further reported that modifications were made in the adapter to reduce the vibrations at the time of spacecraft separations.
The failure of Zuma Spy satellite is a big jolt in the name of Northrop Grumman. It is the main contractor for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. But unfortunately, Webb space had faced cost overruns and delay at work. Recently NASA announced the delay in the launch of James Webb Space Telescope till May 2020.
The officials at NASA also stated the need to perform more rounds of testing which includes the tiny tears in the sun shield of the telescope. This time the checking will be stricter so that nothing may go wrong in the process.
Due to delay in launch, another factor that has been taken into consideration is the price tag. In the beginning, it was $8.8 billion, but now it may rise. Till now no exact figures have been calculated yet.
This will also be the largest international science project in the US History, and therefore more time is needed for proper evaluation.