Explosion Rocks SpaceX Launch Pad

800px-USAF_EOD_explosionA Space X Falcon 9 rocket exploded at Cape Canaveral

An explosion at Space X launch site has rocked Cape Canaveral on Thursday morning. The incident took place just after 9 a.m. at Launch Complex 40 while an unmanned Falcon 9 rocket was being test-fired ahead of a scheduled launch at 3 a.m. on Saturday, said NASA.

A fireball was seen and multiple explosions were heard, as reported by witnesses. Buildings several miles away from the Kennedy Space Center were shaken by the force of the blast. Huge clouds of dark smoke were sent into the sky and provoked a social media firestorm.

According to the aerospace company SpaceX, “an anomaly had occurred” on the pad, while loading the rocket with fuel.

The rocket’s payload, the Amos-6 communications satellite was built for Facebook by Israeli Aerospace Industry. Unfortunately, both the rocket and the payload were destroyed, a Space X spokesman said. According to experts, the communications satellite was valued at more than $200 million. Amos-6 was planned to deliver internet access to the remote parts of the world as part of Facebook Internet.org initiative.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is currently visiting Nigeria, Africa. When he heard that satellite had been destroyed, he wrote on his Facebook account that he was “deeply disappointed” but still committed to Facebook’s mission of connecting people and his team will keep working on the project, “until everyone has the opportunities this satellite would have provided”.