A Falcon 9 rocket exploded in Florida

2 Sep

This morning, Sept 1, Cape Canaveral, Florida was rock when a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket exploded at a few minutes after 9 am ET. The rocket had been wheeled out to the launched pad for testing in preparation of this weekends mission. Shortly after re-fueling some yet unexplained mishap occurred to cause the rocket and its payload blow-up.

“Cause still unknown. More soon,” Elon Musk, founder and CEO of both SpaceX and Tesla Motors, said on Twitter.

Fortunately, all personal had already been cleared from the launch area so that there were no injuries. The only casualties of the explosion were the Amos-6 communication satellite, the Falcon 9 rocket, and the launch pad.

The explosion will most likely ground any future SpaceX launches until the cause and any needed fixes are made. The last time a Falcon 9 exploded was shortly after launch in June of last year. After that explosion it was 6 months before the necessary upgrades were made to resume launches. As a result SpaceX had a much improved Falcon 9 rocket that had 9 successful missions and 6 recoveries of the first stage.

Today disaster is also a setback for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his plan to bring Internet service to remote areas of Africa. The plan had been in the works for over a year before Facebook and France-based Eutelsat paid $95 million dollars on a 5 year lease of the Amos satellite array.

We are disappointed by the loss but remain committed to our mission of connecting people to the Internet around the world,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement.

Mark Zuckerberg was in Africa promoting the mission when he heard the news of the explosion.

I’m deeply disappointed to hear that SpaceX’s launch failure destroyed our satellite that would have provided connectivity to so many entrepreneurs and everyone else across the continent,” he said in a Facebook post. “We remain committed to our mission of connecting everyone, and we will keep working until everyone has the opportunities this satellite would have provided.”

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