Space Commerce

SpaceX Falcon 9 Explodes During Routine Test

By Keith Cowing
September 1, 2016
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SpaceX Falcon 9 Explodes During Routine Test
Falcon 9 Explodes via YouTube

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blew up today at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station during preparations for a routine static engine firing. The rocket and its Amos-6 payload were destroyed. The exact cause of the explosion is unknown at the present time.
According to SpaceX: “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.”

Elon Musk Tweeted “Loss of Falcon vehicle today during propellant fill operation. Originated around upper stage oxygen tank. Cause still unknown. More soon.”

Video by

Editor’s note: The business repercussions for SpaceX and its clients are numerous, it’s a cascading effect.

The Amos-6 launch was critical to Spacecom who had been acquired by Beijing Xinwei Technology Group and the sale was contingent on a successful Amos-6 launch. Iridium next-generation constellation has already been delayed and will be delayed further. Spaceflight’s SHERPA with it’s payload of 89 small satellites will be delayed yet again. ISS cargo resupply schedules will now have to be modified. The list goes on.

One of the questions that immediately comes to mind, was this a pad issue or a rocket issue? If it’s not a rocket issue, that might ease people’s mind somewhat. If it’s a rocket issue, that would further complicate things. We won’t get answers today, but for SpaceX and its customers, we can only hope the investigation reveals an issue that can be easily identified and corrected so they can return to flight soon.

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.