[Ed. – Presumably just coincidence, but it’s interesting that the rocket was slated to carry an Israeli communications satellite into orbit — and that the satellite was part of the Facebook plan to bring satellite Internet to Sub-Saharan Africa.]
An explosion destroyed a Falcon 9 rocket belonging to Elon Musk’s SpaceX during routine test firing at Cape Canaveral in Florida on Thursday, shaking buildings kilometres away and sending a thick plume of black smoke pouring into the air.
SpaceX said in a statement there were no injuries, but that an “anomaly” during the static fire test resulted in the loss of the rocket and the Israeli communications satellite it had been due to carry into space at the weekend. The satellite was due to become the first in Facebook’s project to spread Internet to the developing world.
A spokesman for Cape Canaveral Air Force Station said there was a “significant” explosion just after 9 a.m. ET (3pm BST) at Launch Complex 40, which is leased by SpaceX.