A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is reported to have exploded during a routine test Thursday morning at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida as it was resting on a launch pad. Multiple blasts were reported before thick, dark smoke filled the sky. Eyewitnesses tweeted that nearby buildings shook. The rocket was set to take off on Saturday to deliver a satellite. According to Space.com, “At the time, SpaceX was conducting a static fire engine test on the Falcon 9. Such tests, which typically precede each SpaceX launch, involve firing the Falcon 9 rocket's first stage engines while the booster remains secured to the launch pad.” Brevard County’s emergency management office said in a tweet that the explosions posed no threat to the general public. SpaceX said in a statement later Thursday morning that the incident was an “anomaly ... resulting in the loss of the vehicle and its payload,” and confirmed there were no injuries.
Facebook later confirmed that one of its satellites designed to bring Internet access to parts of Africa was destroyed in the explosion. In a Facebook post, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he was “deeply disappointed.”