SpaceX Rocket Explosion Destroys Facebook Satellite (NASDAQ:FB)
The Cape Canaveral explosion jostled buildings for miles and destroyed a $200-M satellite providing Internet to remote regions.
A rocket designed by Los Angeles area firm, SpaceX, the Falcon 9, exploded on a Cape Canaveral launch pad Thursday morning, shaking buildings for miles and destroying a $200-M satellite that was set to be used in part for a Facebook Internet initiative.
Both the rocket and its payload were destroyed, but no one was injured. The rocket was scheduled to launch the Amos-6 communications satellite early Saturday morning. 3 September.
In a statement, the Elon Musk led private spaceflight company attributed the launchpad explosion to “an anomaly on the pad” which resulted in a loss of the rocket and its payload. No one was injured in the explosion, the statement said.
The satellite included capabilities that Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) was going to use as part of its Internet.org project to bring internet access to remote parts of the world.
SpaceX founder Elon Musk wrote that the failure occurred “during propellant fill operation,” and the problem originated around an upper-stage oxygen tank.
The satellite was reported to be worth $195-M and the rocket $62-M.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg shared his disappointment, posting a message on the site from Africa, saying he was “deeply disappointed to hear that SpaceX’s launch failure destroyed our satellite that would have provided connectivity to so many entrepreneurs and everyone else across the continent.
Fortunately, we have developed other technologies like Aquila that will connect people too. We remain committed to our mission of connecting everyone, and we will keep working until everyone has the opportunities this satellite would have provided.”
SpaceX is the private spaceflight company run by Elon Musk, the Chairman/CEO Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA). The explosion is major setback for SpaceX, which announced this week that it has signed its first customer to launch a satellite with a reusable rocket.
SpaceX seeks to prove it can safely reuse rockets to increase the frequency of launches while lowering their cost.
A SpaceX rocket carrying cargo to the International Space Station broke apart over the Florida coast shortly after liftoff in June 2015.
SpaceX contracts with NASA and other organizations to carry satellites into orbit or deliver supplies to the International Space Station.
Until Thursday, the company had successfully carried out 8 launches this year, with 9 more in the wings by year’s end, including the debut flight of the so-called Falcon Heavy.
That lineup is in jeopardy now.
SpaceX is leasing the Cape Canaveral pad from the Air Force for unmanned Falcon launches. The company is also redoing a former shuttle pad at Kennedy for future manned flights for NASA.
The 1st crewed flight was supposed to take place by the end of next year.
Boeing (NYSE:BA) also is developing a crew capsule for NASA.
Even before Thursday’s accident, NASA’s Inspector General office was skeptical there would be astronaut flights by SpaceX or Boeing before late Y 2018. Technical challenges are piling up and threaten to cause delays, according to a report issued Thursday
The company has made headlines for its reusable rockets that can blast off to space, release a satellite or payload, drop back down to Earth and land upright on a floating platform autonomously.
Tesla Motors stock already struggling dove over 5% on the news.
|NASDAQ:FB||126.17||1 September 2016||0.05||126.38||126.63||125.6||13,527,500|
|HeffX-LTN Analysis for FB:||Overall||Short||Intermediate||Long|
|Bullish (0.43)||Neutral (0.17)||Very Bullish (0.55)||Very Bullish (0.58)|
|NASDAQ:TSLA||200.77||1 September 2016||-11.24||209.01||211.1||200.5||7,940,500|
|HeffX-LTN Analysis for TSLA:||Overall||Short||Intermediate||Long|
|Neutral (-0.23)||Bearish (-0.41)||Bearish (-0.31)||Neutral (0.03)|
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