SpaceX vehicle, payload lost in explosion, no injuries though

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) – An explosion has rocked the SpaceX launch site in Florida.

NASA says SpaceX was conducting a test firing of its unmanned rocket when the blast occurred Thursday morning. The test, considered routine, was in advance of a planned Saturday launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Buildings several miles away shook from the blast, and multiple explosions continued for several minutes. A cloud of dark smoke filled the overcast sky.

SpaceX said 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 supposed to hoist an Israeli satellite this weekend.

 

Launch Complex 40 is an Air Force facility which has been leased to SpaceX. The company has launched 25 rockets from the site since 2010. Its rockets have carried supplies to the International Space Station as well as satellites.

The company has yet to carry any people into space, though it has won a contract from NASA to carry American astronauts to the space station in the future.

The company had a rocket explode during a launch in June of 2015 on one of its ISS supply missions. It was later determined that a strut that held a helium tank in place had failed, causing the explosion.

It has also lost several rockets when it tried to land them upright on an ocean platform at the end of a flight.