Unmanned SpaceX Rocket Explodes During Test Burn
UPDATE: It has been reported that the explosion destroyed Facebook’s first satellite, which was worth $200 million and was intended to “provide internet coverage to large parts of sub-Saharan Africa” as part of Internet.org’s mission. “I’m deeply disappointed to hear that SpaceX’s launch failure destroyed our satellite that would have provided connectivity to so many entrepreneurs and everyone else across the continent,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement. “We remain committed to our mission of connecting everyone, and we will keep working until everyone has the opportunities this satellite would have provided.”
The Associated Press reported this morning that an explosion has rocked the SpaceX launch site in Florida.
Statement on this morning’s anomaly pic.twitter.com/3Xm2bRMS7T
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) September 1, 2016
NASA claims the blast took place Thursday morning while SpaceX was conducting a test firing of its unmanned rocket. This routine test came in advance of a planned Saturday launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
#SpaceX Explosion on LC-40! pic.twitter.com/gri2nBrQhl
— eHardin ♱ (@eHardinda) September 1, 2016
The report claims that buildings felt the blast several miles away and multiple explosions continued as sirens were heard and smoke filled the sky.
Witnesses saw a fireball and houses shook after a #SpaceX unmanned rocket exploded on the launch pad. pic.twitter.com/uXU1vacMid
— Sam Jordan (@Sam_Jordan80) September 1, 2016
The rocket was supposed to hoist an Israeli satellite this weekend.
So far, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has released the following tweet, offering little details:
Loss of Falcon vehicle today during propellant fill operation. Originated around upper stage oxygen tank. Cause still unknown. More soon.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 1, 2016