Citing government and industry officials who were briefed on the mission, the Wall Street Journal that the satellite did not separate as intended after the firing of the rocket's second stage.
In this image made with an 8-minute long exposure the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and lands as seen from from the Ocean Club Marina in Port Canaveral, Fla., Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018. The company has already signed contracts to launch commercial missions on the three-core rocket - if the test fire and demonstration flight are successful. Zuma may not have separated from the upper part of the Falcon 9 rocket and instead plunged back into the Earth's atmosphere.
SpaceX will fly the rocket on manned and unmanned Mars missions in the coming years.
"For clarity: after reviewing of all data to date, Falcon 9 did everything correctly on Sunday night". The satellite for the secret mission was built by Northrop Grumman Corp.
"We have made a decision to stand down and take a closer look at data from recent fairing testing for another customer", said SpaceX communications director John Taylor at the time.
Bloomberg, citing a USA official and two congressional aides familiar with the launch, that the Falcon 9's second-stage booster section failed. He said a number designation was assigned by federal space trackers, but that doesn't mean there is anything still in orbit.
Northrup Grumman, the maker of the payload, said it was for the United States government and would be delivered to low-Earth orbit, but offered no other details. The company has recently ramped up its launch pace, even launching two missions from opposite coasts within about 48 hours.
Musk has said it is possible that the Falcon Heavy's first launch could end with the rocket blowing up, so he's placing his personal property - his Tesla Roadster - in the nosecone as payload. The company later said it had cleared the issue. "This is a brand new vehicle with 27 engines having to work in sync", said Dale Ketcham, Space Florida's chief of strategic alliances, according to WFTV.
On its website, SpaceX says it has more than 70 upcoming missions on its launch manifest, which could take several years.
On launch day, safely tucked away in a protective payload fairing will be Musk's 2008 Tesla Roadster, an all-electric sports auto that boosted his energy company during its formative years.
All eyes will turn to the first launch, in late January, of SpaceX's, which would become the most powerful operational rocket in the world, carrying twice as much as its nearest competitor, the Delta IV Heavy.