A SpaceX rocket exploded on Nasa’s Cape Canaveral launchpad today, sending a huge plume of smoke high into the air and shaking buildings miles away in Florida.
SpaceX was conducting a test firing of its unmanned rocket when the blast occurred shortly after 9 a.m., according to NASA. The test was in advance of a planned Saturday launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, which is next to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.
Local emergency officials described the incident as a “catastrophic abort during a static test fire”.
SpaceX spokesman, John Taylor, said he could not comment as he worked to gather information.
NASA – SpaceX’s major customer – said the explosion occurred at Launch Complex 40 at the Air Force station, and Kennedy emergency staff was on standby. At the same time, personnel were monitoring the air for any toxic fumes.
This rocket was supposed to deliver an Israeli communications satellite in space this weekend. Unofficial statements from multiple sources says that the plan was postponed due to this incident.
This is the second major issue SpaceX has had with its signature launch vehicle, the Falcon 9 rocket. Back in June 2015, the Falcon 9 experienced an overpressure event in the upper stage liquid oxygen tank approximately 139 seconds into flight, resulting in loss of mission.