SpaceX Rocket Explodes On Launch Pad (Video)

| by Michael Allen
SpaceX RocketSpaceX Rocket

A SpaceX rocket blew up on its launching pad in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Sept. 1, decimating its satellite and planned launch for Sept. 3 (video below).

The explosions went on for longer than four minutes on Launch Complex 40, which is an Air Force facility that is leased to SpaceX, reports CNN.

The company's CEO Elon Musk, who is also the head of auto maker Tesla, tweeted that the rocket exploded while it was being fueled, but it's not clear what ignited the unexpected blast.

No one was injured in the explosion because Launch Complex 40 was cleared for a routine pre-launch engine test, reports The Associated Press.

Emergency staff at the nearby NASA's Kennedy Space Center were placed on standby and checked for any possible toxic fumes.

While the blast's shock waves were felt in buildings as far as 4 miles away, the Air Force said surrounding communities were not threatened.

SpaceX has launched 25 rockets from Launch Complex 40 since 2010.

Facebook planned to use the rocket's satellite, Amos 6, to boost internet access in parts of Africa, the Middle East and Europe, notes CNN.

"I'm deeply disappointed to hear that SpaceX's launch failure destroyed our satellite," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg noted on the social media site.

Zuckerberg wrote the satellite "would have provided connectivity to so many entrepreneurs and everyone else across the continent." He added, "We will keep working until everyone has the opportunities this satellite would have provided."

Before the explosion, SpaceX had made a deal with NASA to use Launch Complex 39A for future launches; that launch pad is being upgraded by SpaceX.

SpaceX is developing rockets that could be landed upright and reused, and won a NASA contract to fly U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station in the future.

SpaceX hopes to get its certification by late 2017 for those manned trips.

Sources: CNN, AP via ABC News / Photo credit: USLaunchReport/YouTube

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