SpaceX destroys Facebook's satelite for Africa, Zuckerberg reacts

The FAA sent several inspectors to the Space Coast to investigate what went wrong, and it will oversee a review of about 3,000 channels of video data. Still, Thursday’s was a rare event, says Jonathan McDowell at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, tracing the last launchpad explosion at Cape Canaveral back to 1959.

US senator Bill Nelson said the SpaceX explosion is a reminder that spaceflight is a “risky business”. Cause still unknown. More soon. The trouble appears to have originated somewhere near the liquid oxygen tank in the upper stage. SpaceX is restoring a second pad for human space flight on the Florida cape and building another launch facility in Texas.

“Given that SpaceX is working to provide NASA with a way to transport not just cargo, but also astronauts to the International Space Station, it is especially crucial that such learning takes place before that happens”. “There are no concerns in that regard”.

While this mission did not relate to the U.S. Space Agency, NASA also weighed in on how it viewed the disaster via a statement issued later in the day.

Saturday’s launch was to be the ninth of the year for Space Exploration Technologies Corp., which had settled into a steady tempo of flights following a June 2015 accident that grounded its rockets for six months. SpaceX’s business is robust, with approximately 70 missions on our manifest worth over $10 billion.

Facebook’s mission to spread the internet across sub-Saharan Africa received a major setback after the rocket due to launch the communication satellite exploded in routine tests.

“There is no threat to general public from catastrophic abort during static test fire at SpaceX launch pad”, a spokesman for the Brevard County Emergency Management Office said.

· At the time of the loss, the launch vehicle was vertical and in the process of being fueled for the test. It wasn’t clear whether the rocket caused the problem or something else on the pad. There were no injuries.

SpaceX did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment. These plans include the preservation of all possible evidence and the assembly of an Accident Investigation Team, with oversight by the Federal Aviation Administration and participation by NASA, the United States Air Force and other industry experts.

Damage hasn’t been determined yet because no one has been to the pad to evaluate it.

The blast was a reminder of the peril inherent in space flight, which relies on controlled explosions to power payloads to orbit.

Both locations will be able to accommodate Falcon 9 rockets, like the one lost Thursday, and the newer, bigger Falcon Heavy rockets.

He noted that the launch pad damaged yesterday was distinct from the one that will serve to launch SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, meant to ferry astronauts to the ISS starting in late 2017.