On Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016, a Falcon 9 rocket operated by SpaceX, an Elon Musk owned company, exploded during a routine engine check at its launch site in Cape Canaveral, FL.The rocket was scheduled to launch just three days later to place a satellite into orbit on behalf of SpaceCom, a company based in Israel. Although the cause of the explosion is yet to be determined, Musk has openly asked for and received input from groups such as NASA, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the US Air Force. He has even gone as far as to ask the public via a Twitter post for and photos or footage captured during the event.
The rocket exploded on Launch Site 40 in Cape Canaveral, a site on lease to the company from the US Air Force. Statements have been released saying that there was no damage to NASA facilities in the area, nor did the explosion affect the launch of any of NASA’s rockets.
The rocket and cargo together, all of which were destroyed, cost over $120 million dollars.
The mishap comes as a small setback for Musk who is working on the technology for rockets that can land upright and ready for reuse. He stated that they are still working towards their goal of taking civilians to space by 2025... Only nine years away!
In the meantime, Spacecom, the owner of the satellite the rocket was to place into orbit, has stated that they will be taking action to SpaceX seeking either $50 million compensation or a free flight. The satellite destroyed in the explosion was also connected with the Internet.org project by Facebook, with the task of bringing internet connection to parts of subsahran Africa. Mark Zuckerberg has said he is ‘deeply disappointed’ with the loss.
SpaceX will not be launching from their primary sight in Cape Canaveral, the sight of the explosion, and will have a delayed schedule for upcoming launches. They do have the ability to launch from two other sites. One secondary sight in Cape Canaveral and another located in California. New launches are on the books for November according to SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell.