A tragic incident has seen Facebook’s first satellite explode after an anomaly on the pad resulting in great loss.A SpaceX rocket exploded on Nasa’s Cape Canaveral launchpad today, destroying Facebook’s first satellite and sending a huge plume of smoke high into the air.
The Falcon 9 spacecraft had been undergoing a routine test before launching the satellite on September 3, but dramatic photos from the scene show how the mission went badly wrong.
Facebook had reportedly commissioned the Israeli Amos-6 satellite costing around £130million to help deliver broadband around the world as part of its internet.org programme – but it was destroyed in this morning’s blast.
Buildings several miles away shook from the impact, and multiple explosions continued for several minutes.
Private company SpaceX, founded by celebrity entrepreneur Elon Musk, aims to eventually allow humans to live on other planets.
In a statement, this afternoon SpaceX said there were no injuries as safety precautions meant the launchpad was clear. Both the rocket and its payload (the satellite) were destroyed due to an ‘anomaly’ on the pad, they said:
paceX designs, builds and launches rockets with the self-described ‘ultimate goal’ of allowing people to live on other planets. Their crafts are designed to be re-used, and the company had just sold on a previously flown Falcon 9 to a private customer for the first time.
Demonstrating that the rockets can be reused is crucial for the company’s goal of reducing the cost of space technology.