Published on: Sep 2, 2016
During a round of routine testing on Thursday morning, September 1st, the latest SpaceX rocket caught fire and exploded. on the Cape Canaveral launch pad in Florida. It was carrying a satellite with a noble purpose and the cargo was destroyed in the blast.
Fortunately, no one was injured in the accident, but this setback has far-reaching implications for the future of the space program. Join us as we look at the details surrounding this event.
The explosion occurred on Thursday morning during a routine test of the rocket. The company is describing the event as an "anomaly," but it doesn't change the fact that the precious onboard cargo was destroyed.
The rocket was meant to carry a satellite built by Facebook into orbit. The purpose of the satellite was to provide high-speed internet access to Africa, the Middle East, and Europe in places where it is not currently available.
The Satellite was called Amos 6 and was built by Eutelsat Communications. It was owned by an Israeli company called Spacecom.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote a post after the event saying "I'm deeply disappointed to hear that SpaceX's launch failure destroyed our satellite. The satellite would have provided connectivity to so many entrepreneurs and everyone else across the continent."
He promised to continue working until everyone can have the benefits the satellite promised. The blast lasted four minutes and began at 9:07 AM on the morning of September 1st.
The launch pad has been used by SpaceX for over 25 rocket launches since 2010. In past launches, rockets successfully took supplies to the International Space Station and also transported other satellites to orbit.
SpaceX as a company is trying to make space flight more economical by designing a rocket that can land upright.
Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, took to Twitter a day after the event to explain that what we saw wasn't an explosion in the strictest sense of the term.
On his twitter he said "This seems instant from a human perspective, but it's really a fast fire not an explosion. Dragon would have been fine."
Dragon refers to the capsule escape pod that SpaceX is designing for future manned flights. It's supposed to be a safety feature that works like ejection seats in fighter jets but provides more safety with a full pod.
The event is being used as an opportunity to study how the escape pod could be used to prevent any loss of life if such an accident were to happen with people inside the rocket.