A SpaceX Rocket Just Exploded At Cape Canaveral In Florida

A picture of the explosion at Launch Pad 40. Erin Head

It was all going so well for SpaceX. Just yesterday, we brought you the news that it had signed its first customer to fly on one of its reusable rockets. But today, one of its rockets has exploded during a test at its Launch Pad 40 at Cape Canaveral in Florida.

A Falcon 9 rocket intended to fly this coming Saturday exploded a few minutes before a static test fire – which is when the rocket fires its engines while clamped to the ground to check everything works. It's not clear why it exploded yet.

“Very bad news – looks like the @SpaceX Falcon 9 due for launch on Sat may have exploded on the pad at Cape Canaveral a few minutes ago,” Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said on Twitter.

This is not the reusable rocket SpaceX was planning to fly later this year. But it is a major setback for the company. There are no reports of any casualties, but emergency crews were quick to the scene, including firefighters to quell the resulting blaze.

The flight on Saturday was intended to launch the $200 million Amos-6 communications satellite for Israel Aerospace Industries. SpaceX has since confirmed that both the rocket and the payload were destroyed in the incident, which could have ripple effects across the space industry.

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