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Rocket Explosion at Cape Canaveral Destroys Israel's Amos 6.

By DEBKAfile & Israel Faxx News Services

Elon Musk's $200 million SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket exploded on its launch pad at Cape Canaveral, Florida Thursday, during preparations for a pre-launch static fire test of Israel's Amos 6 communications satellite on Saturday, Sept. 3.

"An anomaly on the pad resulted in the loss of the vehicle and its payload, a company spokesman Phil Larson said. The satellite was designed to provide direct satellite data services, including Facebook access, for areas of Africa, the Middle East and Europe. Please see video at *https://youtu.be/_BgJEXQkjNQ <https://youtu.be/_BgJEXQkjNQ>*

The blast was felt several miles away. Social media posted images of flames and a plume of lack smoke coming from the site. SpaceX plans to send humans to Mars in 2024.

Reportedly, the satellite that was to serve Facebook's connectivity expansion was lost in the explosion. The Amos 6 satellite built by Israel-based Space Communication will support the Israeli government's communication needs as well as provide broadcast services in areas of Europe, Africa and the Middle East. The expanded Internet connectivity effort was supported by Facebook

Dale Ketcham, Space Florida's chief of strategic alliances, said the engine test is common among the commercial space industry. He also said it's likely that no people were around the area when the explosion happened.

NASA Kennedy Space Center released a statement saying the explosion happened shortly after 9 a.m. and NASA has no direct information about what occurred at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The center is monitoring the air quality to ensure the safety of its employees.

SpaceX has had both success and failures in launching and landing it rockets. The company is often the busiest in launch activity in Cape Canaveral. The Hawthorne, Calif.-based firm has plans to build two more landing pad in Cape Canaveral l as well as occupy a building in Port Canaveral to refurbish its rockets.

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Publication:Israel Faxx
Geographic Code:7ISRA
Date:Sep 2, 2016
Words:319
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