SpaceCom’s Amos 6 satellite was lost on Thursday when the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket exploded on its launch pad in Florida during a test run. In addition to Facebook’s satellite meant to bring internet to an entire continent, Spacecom, an Israeli-based satellite operator, had a satellite onboard.
Authorities said that explosion has occurred at approximately 9.07 AM Eastern at Space Launch 40 Complex at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
The construction, launch preparation and operation of the AMOS-6 satellite, which would have been used to “significantly expand the variety of communications services provided by Spacecom“, reportedly cost the company more than $195 million. Fireballs engulfed the Falcon 9 rocket and a satellite called Amos-6 about 8 minutes before a scheduled test firing Thursday.
SpaceX, which now has over 70 planned missions with a value of more than $10 billion for both government and commercial clients, is helmed by Elon Musk, who also leads the electric auto company Tesla Motors and solar power provider SolarCity. They further explained that the anomaly began around the upper stage oxygen tank and occurred during propellant loading of the vehicle. SpaceX attributed the disaster to an issue with the Launchpad and not the rocket.
Elon Musk, a serial investor had fed a large chunk of his fortunes from PayPal into SpaceX, and this setback of $62 million is much more than just financial in nature.
The $62-million Falcon 9 rocket was designed and owned by Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies. It is standard protocol to clear the launch pad in advance of such tests.
He says that they will remain true to their mission of connecting all people the world over and will continue working until everyone can benefit from the opportunities the satellite would have provided to them.