During a reportedly routine test, a SpaceX rocket in Cape Canaveral, Florida exploded this morning. The blast shook buildings “several miles” away from the site and filled the sky with smoke.
According to the AP, the initial blast “sounded like lightning, but was followed by the sounds of more explosions.” There are no reported injuries.
[UPDATE 11 am: SpaceX says the satellite was destroyed in the explosion.]
The unmanned SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket was scheduled for takeoff at 3 pm this coming Saturday, and was supposed to be carrying a $200 million Israeli satellite. According to TechCrunch, Facebook has a $95 million five-year lease on the Amos-6 communication satellite to provide broadband service for its internet.org initiative.
The Brevard County Emergency Management Office said in a tweet that there is “NO threat to general public from catastrophic abort during static test fire at SpaceX launch pad at CCAFS this morning.”
It is, however, a threat to SpaceX, which has seen multiple attempts to launch Falcon 9's fail over the last two years. The next Falcon 9 is reportedly scheduled for launch next month.