A SpaceX explosion that occurred Thursday morning has caused a huge setback for the rocket launch that was scheduled for Saturday.
The company, led by tech tycoon Elon Musk, has been working to catch up on satellite deliveries after a launch accident that occurred in June 2015. Thursday’s explosion puts them back behind schedule.
While there have been no reports of injuries or fatalities, the blasts destroyed Falcon 9, which previously made a successful trip into space and back to earth.
The payload that the rocket was set to carry was also destroyed, which has been valued at hundreds of millions of dollars and included Facebook’s first satellite, according to The Independent.
The load also included an Israeli-made communications satellite that would have provided home internet for Africa and the Middle East, the Associated Press reports.
Before the explosion, SpaceX was reportedly conducting “hot fire” tests which involve testing different types of fuels and fuel system parts to determine efficiency, according to Uproxx.
Loss of Falcon vehicle today during propellant fill operation. Originated around upper stage oxygen tank. Cause still unknown. More soon.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 1, 2016
The explosion shook buildings miles out and sent a thick cloud of smoke into the Cape Canaveral air. "We actually thought the building was collapsing, it shook us so bad," said Robin Seemangal, a space reporter for the local Observer newspaper.
US EVA37: Twitter user Ian Dawson posts this shot: pic.twitter.com/s28GCs10V3— William Harwood (@cbs_spacenews) September 1, 2016
Aside from the physical damage caused by the eruption, it will further affect the other launches SpaceX had planned for the rest of the year as they must investigate the malfunction that caused the explosion and possibly begin rebuilding Falcon 9.
Local authorities took to Twitter to assure residents that they were not at risk.
"There is NO threat to general public from catastrophic abort during static test fire at SpaceX launch pad," the Brevard County Emergency Management Office tweeted.
Unfortunately, this mishap throws a monkey wrench into SpaceX’s efforts toward creating reusable rockets to help make space travel more cost effective. Their rocket that made a successful return trip is now in ruins.
Video footage captured smoke bellowing up into the sky from the launchpad following the explosion.
Banner/Thumbnail Credits: Reuters