An explosion at Cape Canaveral on 1 September destroyed both a SpaceX Falcon rocket and a $200 million satellite that would have increased internet access in Sub-Saharan Africa.
At 9:07 a.m., an anomaly on the launch pad caused a massive explosion that destroyed both the rocket and its payload, SpaceX says in a statement on Twitter. The launch pad was clear and there were no injuries, SpaceX says.
"The anomaly originated around the upper stage oxygen tank and occurred during propellant loading of the vehicle," SpaceX says.
SpaceX is reviewing data in order to identify the root cause of the accident, the company reported later this afternoon.
The pre-launch static fire test at Launch Complex 40 at the Air Force station, near the Kennedy Space Center, were conducted in preparation of a full satellite launch slated for this week. The rocket would have carried the $200 million, 5,500 kg Amos-6 satellite, built by Israel Aerospace Industries, which was designed to serve in space for at least 16 years, according IAI. Amos-6 replaces the Amos-2 communications satellite, which ends its service in 2016.
Last year, Facebook partnered with Eutelsat Communications to use the broadband payload on the Amos-6 to expand internet coverage in West, East and Southern Africa.
Video and photos surfaced on social media this morning showed a flaming blast followed by a lingering cloud of black smoke over Cape Canaveral. Photos also showed a damaged launch tower and witnesses reported the explosion shook buildings several miles from the site.