US space transport services company SpaceX launched a super-secretive US government payload into orbit from its Falcon 9 rocket in the early hours of January 8. It's shooting for even more flights in 2018.
There was nothing unusual about the launch itself, which - as the photos and videos show - went off just like SpaceX would have liked, complete with the first stage landing.
The exact destination of the US spacecraft was not disclosed.
Northrop Grumman, which was responsible for the spacecraft and contracted for the launch, did not immediately respond to questions.
The company will be attempting a test launch next week with Musk- also the CEO of Tesla Inc - stating that the payload will comprise the all-electric sports car Tesla Roadster playing rocker David Bowie's Space Oddity.
Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said on Twitter that SpaceX did not supply the payload adapter, which shoots the satellite off the rocket, for this mission. "We cannot comment on classified missions". "This is a brand new vehicle with 27 engines having to work in sync", said Ketcham.
"Excitement on launch day guaranteed, one way or another", Musk posted on Instagram.
According to the Wall Street Journal, this situation occurs when a satellite is released at the wrong time or is damaged. The mission control room clapped and cheered a few seconds later as the Falcon 9 split into two stages. When SpaceX has had mishaps in the past, it's grounded the company for months.
While we know it will enter low-Earth orbit, this does little to tell of its mission.
SpaceX mission commentary covered the initial minutes of the launch, ignition of the rocket's second stage, jettison of a protective payload fairing and landing of the first stage back at the Air Force station.
This could be a significant setback for SpaceX, since these kinds of contracts can be especially lucrative, and it faces fierce competition from existing launch provider ULA, jointly operated by Boeing and Lockheed Martin. The ultimate goal is to reuse those rockets to cut the cost of putting things into orbit. The US Strategic Command, which monitors more than 23,000 man-made objects in space, said afterward it isn't tracking any new satellites following the launch. It separated and was discarded, falling back to Earth.