Tags: spacex | falcon 9 | rocket | satellite | explosion

SpaceX Falcon 9 Launch Explosion Destroys Facebook Satellite

Image: SpaceX Falcon 9 Launch Explosion Destroys Facebook Satellite

Smoke rises from a SpaceX launch site Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016, at Cape Canaveral, Fla. NASA said SpaceX was conducting a test firing of its unmanned rocket when a blast occurred. (AP Photo/Marcia Dunn)

By    |   Thursday, 01 Sep 2016 01:34 PM

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket exploded on a launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station during a test on Thursday morning.

SpaceX confirmed the explosion, saying in a statement that "there was an anomaly on the pad resulting in the loss of the vehicle and its payload. Per standard procedure, the pad was clear and there were no injuries,” Florida Today reported.

The explosion happened at 9:07 a.m. Thursday during an exercise to test fire the rocket's nine Merlin main engines in preparation for a Saturday launch. It was scheduled to launch the Amos-6 communications satellite for Israeli company Spacecom. The satellite was destroyed in the blast.

“As we continue to push the frontiers of space, there will be both triumphs and setbacks," U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson said, according to Florida Today. "But at the end of the day, I’m confident that our commercial space industry will be very successful.”

The explosion is the latest setback for SpaceX, which has been behind schedule in delivering satellites to space since an accident transpired last year, The Associated Press reported.

The blast shook buildings several miles away and filled the sky with dark smoke. Emergency staff were standing by, but officials said there was not threat to the public safety.

The satellite was planned to help expand Internet access in Africa in a collaboration between Facebook and Eutelsat, Bloomberg reported.

Shares of Israeli satellite operator Space Communication Ltd. fell after the explosion, Bloomberg noted, adding that a successful launch of the satellite was a condition of the company’s $285 million sale to a Beijing Xinwei Group unit.

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A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket exploded on a launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station during a test on Thursday morning.
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2016-34-01
Thursday, 01 Sep 2016 01:34 PM
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