Last week Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida witnessed a major setback as SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket exploded during a routine test for a planned launch of a communication satellite. The blast occurred on Thursday around 9:07 A.M. local time(ET) eight minutes in advance to the standard pre-launch static fire test of this unmanned Falcon rocket. Fortunately there were no injuries but the payload satellite and the rocket were completely destroyed in the explosion.
The rocket was planned to launch on Saturday, 3 September and was carrying payload of a communication satellite Amos-6 owned by Isreali company Spacecom. The satellite was meant to be used by Facebook for providing internet access to Africa, Middle East and Europe in partnership with French Satellite Firm Eutelsat Communications.
“I’m deeply disappointed to hear that SpaceX’s launch failure destroyed our satellite that would have provided connectivity to so many entrepreneurs and everyone else across the continent. We remain committed to our mission of connecting everyone, and we will keep working until everyone has the opportunities this satellite would have provided.”, Mark Zuckerburg said in a Facebook post.
The video provided by U.S. launch report shows the rocket erupting fireballs as it collapses on the launchpad.
According to a statement by SpaceX the explosion apparently originated around Falcon 9’s upper stage oxygen tank and occurred during the propellant loading of the vehicle. To identify the root cause of the anomaly SpaceX has begun its investigation assembly of an Accident Investigation Team, with oversight by the Federal Aviation Administration and participation by NASA, the United States Air Force and other industry experts.
It was second time in just over a year that SpaceX has lost a rocket. It was last year in June when Falcon 9 suffered its only in-flight failure minutes into a launch of ISS supplies from Cape Canaveral. With 93 percent success rate Falcon rocket has successfully completed 27 flights since its debut in 2010.