The Falcon's first stage completed its job, lifting the rocket off the pad and toward space, then separating and landing back at Cape Canaveral.
Prior to this secret mission, SpaceX has also been involved in the launch of many security-based payloads that includes a surveillance satellite designed for the office of National Reconnaissance. The rocket's first stage has also landed 12 times on droneships in the ocean as SpaceX pushed to lower launch costs with reusable rockets.
Another noticeable addition to the intrigue is that while SpaceX typically broadcasts its launches via webcam, this launch did not receive the full treatment - the Zuma spacecraft was not shown when it separated from the first stage of the rocket.
Two and a half minutes into the launch, the main engine was cut.
The weather was presumably linked to the "bomb cyclone" storm that has been battering the U.S East Coast all week. This is the moment at which the Falcon 9 underwent the most aerodynamic stress. But the Strategic Command, which monitors more than 23,000 man-made objects in space, said it is not tracking any new satellites since the launch.
True to form, SpaceX tweeted each part of the launch and landing. Although what happened to Zuma remains shrouded in mystery, McDowell said Northrop Grumman provided its own adapter used to attach the payload to the final stage. One representative from SpaceX informed that the rocket has done the job a per the planning. Additionally, a SpaceX rocket carrying supply missions to the International Space Station for NASA exploded in 2015.
"We cannot comment on classified missions", a Northrop Grumman spokesman told the Journal.
"Three, two, one, ignition and liftoff", said a SpaceX commentator as the Falcon 9 rocket launched under cover of darkness from Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 8:00 pm (0100 GMT Monday).