A series of explosions followed a test of one of SpaceX’s Falcon rockets at Cape Canaveral on Thursday morning.
The company was conducting the test ahead of its launch of an Israeli communications satellite — called Amos-6 — scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 3. Facebook had acquired some of the satellite’s capacity to support its Internet.org efforts.
SpaceX put out a statement confirming the explosion and said that no one was injured but the rocket and the payload — the satellite — were destroyed.
“SpaceX can confirm that in preparation for today’s standard pre-launch static fire test, there was an anomaly on the pad resulting in the loss of the vehicle and its payload. Per standard procedure, the pad was clear and there were no injuries.”
Images of the scene show significant smoke; some eyewitnesses claim buildings in the surrounding area shook during the explosions.
Significant smoke plume coming from the Cape Canaveral Space X launch pad in Florida, seen on radar. #Spacex pic.twitter.com/43FiZKMIXB— Brad Panovich (@wxbrad) September 1, 2016
Here's a better picture showing actual flames from Cape Canaveral at the #SpaceX launch pad. pic.twitter.com/aW7Hyemiwr— tuddle (@tuddle) September 1, 2016
Explosion from #SpaceX rocket can be seen on radar. pic.twitter.com/Bu7NYmz9zo— Matt Reagan (@reaganmatt) September 1, 2016
Update: SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said that, though the cause of the explosion is still unknown, it originated around the upper stage of the oxygen tank.
Loss of Falcon vehicle today during propellant fill operation. Originated around upper stage oxygen tank. Cause still unknown. More soon.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 1, 2016
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg responded to the destruction of the payload that the company was hoping would bolster its Internet.org efforts.
As I'm here in Africa, I'm 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 as well. We remain committed to our mission of connecting everyone, and we will keep working until everyone has the opportunities this satellite would have provided.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.