TechCrunch that SpaceX's latest rocket had a successful launch but the payload being carried by the rocket, codenamed "Zuma" and believed to be a spy satellite for the USA government, was unable to separate from the second stage of the Falcon 9 rocket.
"If we or others find otherwise based on further review, we will report it immediately", she said.
Shotwell pushed back on reports that seemed to implicate SpaceX with the satellite's demise, saying "information published that is contrary to this statement is categorically false". "Due to the classified nature of the payload, no further comment is possible", says SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell.
"Though we have preserved the range opportunity for tomorrow, we will take the time we need to complete the data review and will then confirm a new launch date".
Its Falcon 9 rocket "performed nominally", it said. Static fire tests tests the rocket's boosters full thrust, as well as other functions on the rocket and ground support systems.
Elon Musk has announced that the first flight of his company's "Falcon Heavy" rocket will carry a Tesla Roadster - touted as the quickest auto in the world with record-setting acceleration, range and performance - into Martian orbit.
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Very little was known about the mission at all, such as the cost of the satellite and its exact goal.
SpaceX declined to comment on the particulars, but in a statement to HuffPost was adamant there was no failure on its end.
After launch, SpaceX returned the tall portion of the Falcon 9 rocket to an upright landing at Cape Canaveral. The last Corporation in the launch previously collaborated with the Alliance ULA (United Launch Alliance), a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin, not SpaceX.
"This is a classified mission", wrote Lon Rains, a Northrop Grumman spokesman, in an email to Spaceflight Now. Its classified mission was intentionally inscrutable - whether to detect missile launches, spy on adversaries, or to track ship at sea with a space radar. After a bitter legal and lobbying battle, the Pentagon certified SpaceX's Falcon 9 for the missions and now is relying on SpaceX to reliably fly its satellites to orbit.
Reporters Sunday night expected confirmation from Northrop Grumman after officials confirmed the Zuma payload's successful launch, but the announcement never came. It was so shrouded in secrecy that the sponsoring government agency was not even identified, as is usually the case. The satellite for the secret mission was built by Northrop Grumman Corp.
Christensen noted that SpaceX has been unambiguous in defending its role in Sunday's launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.