A reusable SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket used to test landing systems the company hopes to incorporate on future operational launch vehicles exploded shortly after liftoff Friday at the company’s 900-acre McGregor, Texas, flight facility, officials said. The uncrewed rocket stage, a successor to SpaceX’s original “Grasshopper” vertical-takeoff-and-landing test vehicle, was destroyed when its self-destruct system was triggered in the wake of an unexplained malfunction.
Three engine F9R Dev1 vehicle auto-terminated during test flight. No injuries or near injuries. Rockets are tricky..
Elon Musk, SpaceX founder and chief designer Elon Musk via Twitter
SpaceX is scheduled to launch the AsiaSat 6 communications satellite next week from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, followed by launch of a SpaceX Dragon cargo ship to the International Space Station on September 19. The test failure Friday was the first catastrophic mishap in the test program’s history.