SpaceX rocket explodes at Florida launch site

An unmanned SpaceX rocket exploded during a test fire on its launch pad Thursday in Cape Canaveral, Florida, the company said.

"SpaceX can confirm that in preparation for today's static fire, there was an anomaly on the pad resulting in the loss of the vehicle and its payload," SpaceX told dpa in an email.

"Per standard procedure, the pad was clear and there were no injuries."

The company later said the incident occured at 9:07 am (1307 GMT) as fuel was being loaded into the rocket. SpaceX was still investigating the cause of the mishap.

"Loss of Falcon vehicle today during propellant fill operation. Originated around upper stage oxygen tank. Cause still unknown. More soon," SpaceX head Elon Musk said on Twitter.

Emergency management authorities in Brevard County, Florida, wrote on Twitter that there was no threat to the public from a "catastrophic abort during static test fire at SpaceX launch pad" in Cape Canaveral.

The next Falcon 9 rocket was not scheduled to launch until Saturday.

SpaceX, founded in 2002, is the first private company to complete commercial space missions. The firm has made more than 30 successful launches to date, and seeks to be the first to offer passenger flights into space.

In June 2015, an unmanned SpaceX resupply rocket bound for the International Space Station exploded on blast off. A broken steel strut was blamed.

Last update: Thu, 01/09/2016 - 22:13
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