Rocket explodes during US test flight; no injuries

A 224-foot SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the AsiaSat 8 commercial communications satellite launches earlier this month. Photo / AP
A 224-foot SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the AsiaSat 8 commercial communications satellite launches earlier this month. Photo / AP

An unmanned SpaceX rocket self-destructed shortly after launching on a test flight at a Texas development site, the company said Friday.

Nobody was injured.

The test flight involved a three-engine version of the company's reusable Falcon 9 rocket, spokesman John Taylor said in a statement. SpaceX has been using the Falcon 9 to launch satellites and the Dragon spacecraft, which delivers cargo to the International Space Station.

"During the flight, an anomaly was detected in the vehicle and the flight termination system automatically terminated the mission," Taylor said.

"Throughout the test and subsequent flight termination, the vehicle remained in the designated flight area. There were no injuries or near injuries," he said.

A representative of the Federal Aviation Administration was present for the flight.

The company offered no further details on the nature of the "anomaly."

"With research and development projects, detecting vehicle anomalies during the testing is the purpose of the program. Today's test was particularly complex, pushing the limits of the vehicle further than any previous test," Taylor said.

SpaceX will review the flight record to learn more about the rocket's performance before its next test flight, he said.

- AP

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