Lamar Smith

Explosion at SpaceX launch pad destroys rocket, satellite

A massive fireball and explosion erupted Thursday at SpaceX's main launch pad, destroying a rocket as well as a satellite that Facebook was counting on to spread internet service in Africa.

There were no injuries. The pad had been cleared of workers before what was supposed to be a routine pre-launch rocket engine test.

SpaceX chief Elon Musk said the accident occurred while the rocket was being fueled and originated around the upper-stage oxygen tank.

"Cause still unknown," Musk said via Twitter. "More soon."

The explosion — heard and felt for miles around — dealt a severe blow to SpaceX, still scrambling to catch up with...

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