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U.S. spy satellite believed destroyed after launch, officials say

WASHINGTON — A U.S. spy satellite that was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, aboard a SpaceX rocket on Sunday failed to reach orbit and is assumed to be a total loss, two U.S. officials briefed on the mission said Monday.

The classified intelligence satellite, built by Northrop Grumman Corp., failed to separate from the second stage of the Falcon 9 rocket and is assumed to have broken up or plunged into the sea, said the two officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Watch as SpaceX launches a rocket 0:31

The satellite is assumed to be "a write-off," one of the officials said.

The presumed loss of the satellite was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Northrop Grumman built the multibillion-dollar satellite, code-named Zuma, and was responsible for choosing the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle, both officials said.

An investigation is under way, but there is no initial indication of sabotage or other interference, they said.

SpaceX spokesman James Gleeson said: "We do not comment on missions of this nature; but as of right now reviews of the data indicate Falcon 9 performed nominally."

Space Exploration Technologies Corp., or SpaceX, led by entrepreneur Elon Musk, launched its first satellite for the U.S. military with its Falcon 9 rocket in May 2017.