An explosion destroyed a SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket on Thursday morning during a fueling operation at Cape Canaveral in Florida, where the company’s Launch Complex 40 is located. The blast shook buildings miles away and left a thick plume of black smoke but no one was injured. SpaceX informed in a statement that an anomaly occurred on the pad while preparing for a static test fire. The vehicle and its payload were lost as a result of the accident.

Elon Musk’s firm was scheduled for the launch of an Israeli communications satellite before dawn on Saturday. It remains unclear whether SpaceX’s launch pad suffered any damages and the company has not yet publicly said if the explosion’s consequences will affect the dozens of NASA and commercial satellite missions that are on the firm’s launch schedule. SpaceX has a second launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Image credit: N./
Bryan Purtell, a spokesman for the Air Force’s 45th Space Wing, which controls operations at Cape Canaveral’s facility, declared the emergency management teams responded right away, as reported by Reuters. Image credit: N./

Residents who were several miles from the launch site took on social media to say how they had felt the blast and television images showed the smoke coming from the facility.

Space reporter with the Observer newspaper, Robin Seemangal, tweeted that a source had told him people thought their building was going to collapse. The same source told Seemangal that it felt like the building had been hit by lightning.

However, authorities said residents were not at risk, according to Reuters. The Brevard County Emergency Management Office told ABC News that the explosion had not left anybody injured.

“There is NO threat to the general public from catastrophic abort during static test fire at SpaceX launch pad,” the Brevard County Emergency Management Office tweeted.

NASA spokeswoman Stephanie Martin declared in a statement that Kennedy Space Center’s Emergency Operations Center is “monitoring the situation” and is there to provide assistance in case it is required.

Purtell said that personnel was being evacuated from the facility, Reuters reported. He added that officials would go in to determine the causes of the blast only after they knew everybody was out of there.

Reaching Mars is the ultimate goal

The satellite affected by the blast was owned by The latter was the first customer that signed with SpaceX to launch such an instrument with a reusable rocket.

SpaceX had successfully recovered from an accident that occurred in June 2015, when a load of cargo headed for the International Space Station was completely lost. The rocket disintegrated two minutes after liftoff.

The company aims at making travel to Mars affordable by building reusable rockets. According to President Gwynne Shotwell’s calculations, reusing rockets could eventually cut launch costs 30 percent, as reported by Los Angeles Times.

The first unmanned spacecraft to the Red Planet is scheduled for 2018 and the firm expects to send humans to Mars in 2024.

Source: Reuters