Orlando Attractions Update – An explosion has rocked the SpaceX launch site in Cape Canaveral. The explosion happened at 9:07 a.m., according to the U.S. Air Force and witnesses reported a second explosion moments later.NASA said SpaceX was conducting a test firing of its unmanned rocket when the blast occurred. The test, considered routine, was in advance of a planned Saturday launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The rocket was supposed to hoist the Israeli satellite Amos-6. The Amos-6 satellite was valued at nearly $200 million.
Buildings several miles away shook from the blast, and multiple explosions continued for several minutes. A cloud of dark smoke filled the overcast sky. Images from the WESH 2 Doppler radar captured smoke dispersing to the north for more than an hour after the explosion.
The Brevard County Emergency Management Office said in a tweet Thursday that “there is no threat to the general public from catastrophic abort during static test fire at SpaceX launch pad at CCAFS this morning.” SpaceX said in a statement that there were no injuries during the explosion and subsequent fire. “SpaceX can confirm that in preparation for today’s static fire, there was an anomaly on the pad resulting in the loss of the vehicle and its payload. Per standard procedure, the pad was clear and there were no injuries.”
“This is going to be a big cleanup. It’s going to be expensive and SpaceX is going to be asked to bear the cost of this,” WESH Space Reporter Dan Billow said.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said the explosion originated around the upper stage oxygen tank, but said the cause is unknown. He said on his Twitter account that more info would be released soon.
Florida Sen. Bill Nelson said the explosion is a reminder about the dangers that accompany the space industry.
“Today’s incident reminds us all that space flight is an inherently risky business. As we continue to push the frontiers of space, there will be both triumphs and setbacks. But at the end of the day, I’m confident that our commercial space industry will be very successful,” Nelson said.