Explosion at Cape Canaveral rocket launch site

A Space X Falcon 9 exploded on its launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center - destroying an Israeli satellite in the blast.

Rachel Kaplan,

SpaceX
SpaceX
צילום: רויטרס

A Space X rocket exploded on its launchpad at the Kennedy Space Center at the Cape Canveral Air Force Station, on the Atlantic coast of Florida.

Space Exploration Technologies, more commonly known as Space X, is one of two companies contracted by NASA to carry supplies to the International Space Station. The company was founded in 2002 by Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk, with the goal of developing affordable commercial travel to Mars. The company plans on launching its first ship to Mars in 2018, followed by a human launch as early as 2024.

Space X reports that the recycled Falcon 9 rocket was going through pre-launch tests when, due to an "anomaly on the [launch] pad," it suddenly exploded.

At around 9:00 a.m. EST, witnesses report an explosion occurred which "rocked the building" miles away from Launch Complex 40.

The Falcon 9 was test-firing its nine Merlin main engines at the time of the explosion.

In an official statement, Space X has confirmed the total loss of the Falcon 9, as well as the $200 million Amos-6 satellite it was set to carry into space on Saturday.

No one was injured in the Brevard County explosion, though eyewitnesses report seeing after-explosions still going off, as of 9:24 a.m EST.

The rocket was set to launch at 3:00 a.m. EST on Saturday, in order to bring the Amos-6 communications satellite into orbit, on behalf of Israeli company Spacecom.

Facebook planned to use some of the satellite's capacity to expand its Internet.org initiative in Africa, providing internet to sub-Saharan Africa.




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