The Zuma failure has emboldened critics of SpaceX

Enlarge / The Zuma mission launched on January 7 from Florida. (credit: SpaceX)

The space community has not learned much about the apparent loss of the Zuma payload launched by SpaceX on January 7, but the mystery has had one clear aftereffect: critics of SpaceX, including several far-right publications, have weaponized the failure of a national security satellite in their continued stream of attacks on the company.

For example The Federalist, a publication that defended the dating habits of Alabama Judge Roy Moore in his Senate campaign, opined about the accident, “It is concerning, to say the least, that American taxpayers have become the guinea pigs who will bear the risks and the costs before a final determination can be made.” The conservative Washington Times also published a critical piece, noting that, “Taxpayers are tired of getting ripped off.”

These articles were written by individuals with little apparent knowledge about the aerospace industry. The Federalist author lists, among his qualifications, that he “helped the 2014 freshmen Republican class to set up offices.” The Times author notes on his LinkedIn profile that he is a “professional coalition builder.”

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