Within three minutes of its Sunday morning lift-off from Cape Canaveral, Fla., a SpaceX rocket carrying supplies to the International Space Station exploded into a fiery ball.
It’s the first major disaster for company headed by Internet mogul Elon Musk, according to AFP.
The weather was perfect at the Falcon 9’s 10:21 a.m. local launch time for what was to have been SpaceX’s seventh supply mission to the space station.
But two minutes, 19 seconds into the flight, contact was lost. Live television images from SpaceX’s webcast and NASA television showed a huge puff of smoke billowing outward, then tiny bits of the rocket falling like confetti against a backdrop of blue sky.
“The vehicle has broken up,” said NASA commentator George Diller.
“At this point it is not clear to the launch team exactly what happened.”
According to AFP:
SpaceX’s live webcast of the launch went silent as the rocket exploded.
Moments later, a SpaceX commentator said the video link from the vehicle had been lost.
“There was some kind of anomaly during first stage flight,” the commentator said, noting that the rocket had ignited its nine Merlin engines and reached supersonic speed.
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