A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, the satellite developed to powered social media giant Facebook’s mission to bring affordable internet access to Nigeria and other less-developed countries has exploded on its launch pad Thursday morning while conducting a static fire test at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
Witnesses of the incident took to social media to describe hearing several explosions followed by a fireball and plume of black smoke seen rising from SpaceX’s launch complex shortly after 9 am local time.
Local meteorologist Jesse Hawila captures the smoke as a result of the explosion on radar.
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According to Teslarati , a representative from SpaceX confirmed the incident via a statement, “SpaceX can confirm that in preparation for today’s static fire, 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.”
The rocket was scheduled to launch this Saturday, September 3 on a mission to deliver Spacecom’s AMOS-6 communication satellite into geostationary transfer orbit.
The satellite was said to be used as part of social media giant Facebook’s mission to bring affordable internet access to less-developed countries.
Today’s incident occurred during standard rocket preparations where Falcon 9’s nine Merlin engines undergo a test-firing on a launch pad. It’s the company’s only other catastrophic failure since June of least year when a Falcon 9 exploded in flight while on a NASA mission to carry supplies to the International Space Station.