SpaceX spacecraft explodes during test mission; no injuries reported
An image of the SpaceX Falcon-9 rocket exploding at its Central Texas testing facility on Friday. (Source: Amanda Spence/Twitter)
SpaceX was founded in 2002. (Source: MGN)
MCGREGOR, TX (RNN) – An unmanned SpaceX spacecraft exploded in the air at its testing site 32 miles southeast of Waco, TX on Friday.
The explosion happened in a three-engine Falcon-9 Reusable rocket, or F9R test module, that the company calls its successor to the retired Grasshopper.
Witnesses in the central Texas area spotted the explosion, taking pictures on Twitter and getting YouTube video of the explosion. News station KWTX obtained Vine video of the rocket taking off and later exploding in the air.
Twitter user Amanda Spence tweeted a photo showing a fiery plume of smoke, shortly after the rocket exploded around 6:45 p.m. CT.
Debris from the explosion also caused a small brush fire, according to witnesses and news reports.
In a statement from SpaceX, they confirmed the explosion occurred during a test flight. SpaceX says “an anomaly was detected” and the “flight termination system automatically terminated the mission.”
The statement also says a representative with the Federal Aviation Administration was at the location and would further investigate the incident.
No one was on the module and there are no injuries reported. This is the SpaceX's first explosion.
The company's CEO Elon Mask tweeted: "Three engine F9R Dev1 vehicle auto-terminated during test flight. No injuries or near injuries. Rockets are tricky."
SpaceX, which was founded in 2002 and headquartered in Hawthorne, CA, manufactures and designs rockets and spacecrafts "with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets," according to its website.
The company also has a $1.6 billion contract with NASA, in which it will fly at least 12 missions.
It's the second testing of the F9R at its 900-acre Texas testing facility. The first testing was on April 17, and had a successful first flight of 250 meters, or 820 feet.
On Aug. 14, SpaceX posted video on YouTube of the F9R's “first stage” reentry into Earth's atmosphere following a satellite launch.
The F9R is a proposed spacecraft that would carry cargo, presumably to the International Space Station.