SpaceX explosion (NASA)

SpaceX rocket carrying first Facebook satellite explodes on pad in Cape Canaveral

The lost satellite would have delivered Internet access to parts of Saharan African

Scott Eric Kaufman
September 1, 2016 7:13PM (UTC)

A SpaceX test launch ahead of what was supposedly to be the company's Saturday delivery of Facebook's first satellite into orbit went catastrophically wrong on Thursday, as the Falcon 9 rocket exploded with a blast that was felt for miles around.

Its payload -- an Amos-6 communications satellite that included the ability to provide Internet access to Saharan Africa via Facebook's program -- was destroyed in the explosion. According to SpaceX, "in preparation for today's standard pre-launch static fire test, there was an anomaly on the pad resulting in the loss of the vehicle and its payload."


There were no injuries, as the pad had already been cleared for pre-launch procedures. The Brevard County Emergency Management Office announced in a tweet that the explosion posed no further threat to the public.

SpaceX has been using its collection of Falcon 9 rockets in an attempt to create a fleet of reusable vehicles both for the purposes of private space flight and to re-supply the International Space Station. Earlier this year, it successfully landed a Falcon 9 nine on a water-based platform, proving the potential viability of the project.

It is not known at this time what caused the explosion.


Scott Eric Kaufman

Scott Eric Kaufman is an assistant editor at Salon. He taught at a university, but then thought better of it. Follow him at @scottekaufman or email him at

MORE FROM Scott Eric KaufmanFOLLOW scottekaufmanLIKE Scott Eric Kaufman

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Cape Canaveral Innovation Nasa Space Flight Spacex

Fearless journalism
in your inbox every day

Sign up for our free newsletter

• • •