Elon Musk’s SpaceX Falcon 9 unmanned rocket exploded today just two-and-a-half minutes after it took off from Cape Canaveral in Florida.
The rocket was carrying 4,000 pounds of cargo to resupply the International Space Station.
Space X (Space Exploration Technologies) stated that the rocket experienced an “anomaly on ascent” and an investigation is underway.
The rocket was just two minutes and 19 seconds into the sky before it suddenly exploded.
The vehicle experienced an anomaly on ascent. Team is investigating. Updates to come.
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) June 28, 2015
There was an overpressure event in the upper stage liquid oxygen tank. Data suggests counterintuitive cause.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 28, 2015
The rocket was carrying 4,000 pounds of equipment, supplies and space gear for astronauts aboard the International Space Station.
The rocket, once it completed its mission, was intended to land on an offshore, remotely-operated barge.
In April, a Falcon 9 rocket exploded on a similar landing pad when rockets hit the barge harder than intended.
The crash temporarily puts billionaire investor and inventor Elon Musk’s space ambitions on ice.
SpaceX plans to taxi astronauts to the International Space Station as early as 2017 under a US$2.6bn contract with NASA, which confirmed the explosion.
The loss of the cargo won’t endanger the astronauts on board the space station.
In the video below, captured by NASA, the rocket appears to have reached the point where the maximum atmospheric stress is on the vehicle.
One moment all appears normal and then, suddenly, there is a lot of smoke, a flash and then debris begins falling from the sky.
Musk said that over-pressurisation occurred in the liquid-oxygen tank of the rocket’s upper stage.
“That’s all we can say with confidence right now,” Musk said on Twitter.