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SpaceX explodes after launch from Cape Canaveral

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SpaceX said that an “anomaly” had caused the rocket to fail and was investigating. NASA is set to hold a press conference later Sunday.

“It is not clear what happened,” NASA said on a webcast. “The vehicle has broken up.”

SpaceX — which is headed by Musk — has made seven trips to the ISS under a contract the company has with NASA.

Sunday’s launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida was supposed to be the third attempt by SpaceX to recover the rocket that launches its spacecraft.

Typically, the expensive rockets that give spaceships their initial lift are discarded into the ocean after takeoff. In an attempt to recover and reuse those rockets, SpaceX developed a floating platform for the ejected rocket to land on.

SpaceX has made two previous attempts to land the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket — once in January and again in April. Both attempts at landing failed.

The ability to recover launch rockets is expected to move space travel further toward a future in which people, satellites and other items can be inexpensively launched into orbit.

SpaceX is the first company to complete a return trip to the space station, a feat previously only achieved by governments.

The company plans to launch its first rocket with human on board in 2017.