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Space & Astronomy

SpaceX rocket explodes on the launch pad

By T.K. Randall
September 1, 2016 · Comment icon 64 comments
An unmanned SpaceX rocket at Cape Canaveral has been destroyed in an explosion prior to launch.
The private space firm, which had been enjoying a run of successes in recent months with its reusable rocket technology, hit a setback today when an unmanned rocket that was due to carry a satellite in to space at the weekend unexpectedly blew up during routine pre-launch testing.

The massive explosion could be felt several miles away and produced plumes of thick black smoke however NASA has moved quickly to offer its reassurances that there is no danger to the public.
Officials have stated that the explosion was caused by a "catastrophic abort during a static test fire."

The Israeli satellite it was carrying, which was intended to help spread Internet connectivity to the developing world as part of a new Facebook project, was also destroyed in the blast.

Source: BBC News | Comments (64)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #55 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 8 years ago
"Really doing well" is kind of relative given that they were already well behind their launch schedule before they were grounded by the previous loss of a Falcon 9 in June 2015.
Comment icon #56 Posted by Merc14 8 years ago
Landing several first stages on barges is what I meant by doing well but point taken and agreed.  These catastrophic losses are definitely not "doing well".  Some more info on this mishap
Comment icon #57 Posted by Clair 8 years ago
SpaceX aims to resume launches in November.
Comment icon #58 Posted by Merc14 8 years ago
Wow, they haven't a clue what caused the last explosion yet they are going back on-line?
Comment icon #59 Posted by Clair 8 years ago
I was surprised that NASA appeared to have no reservations about it, but could be because SpaceX are using another launch site?
Comment icon #60 Posted by Merc14 8 years ago
I haven't read any reports on how damaged the pad is but Musk is asking for outside help on the mishap investigation as they haven't a clue about the cause
Comment icon #61 Posted by Clair 8 years ago
Thank you for the articles. The two things I found most interesting in them is SpaceX's admission that (1) the explosion was the 'most difficult and complex failure' they've had in 14 years and that (2) the fireball went up without an apparent cause. Admittedly I don't know very much about these things, but why would (1) NASA be so confident in SpaceX's ability to 'understand and recover' when they've shown no indication of understanding anything about the incident. They even had to reach out to others for help. And (2) why would SpaceX be confident enough to push forward for additional launch... [More]
Comment icon #62 Posted by Merc14 8 years ago
I don't have a clue as I wouldn't think they'd push forward until the last failure was fully understood and corrected.  Will be interesting to see how NASA reacts to his decree.
Comment icon #63 Posted by Derek Willis 8 years ago
Not being an American, I don't know about these things. But surely a federal organisation - the FAA being the most obvious - decides whether rockets can be launched or not? That said, Musk may be wanting to sound confident to keep shareholders and customers happy.
Comment icon #64 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 8 years ago
The pad damage is not an issue for a November return to flight. As well as the damaged Complex 40 launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Base, SpaceX also lease NASA's historic launch pad 39A, which is due to be ready for Falcon 9 launches in November.

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