SpaceX Falcon 9 explodes in ‘catastrophic abort’ on Florida launch pad

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., Sept. 1 (UPI) — A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket exploded in a “catastrophic abort” during a test firing of the engines on the launch pad at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Thursday morning.

The the unmanned rocket exploded during a static test firing, officials said. The rocket was expected to launch a satellite this weekend.

No one was on the launch pad during the explosion. No one was injured.

“There is NO threat to general public from catastrophic abort during static test fire at SpaceX launch pad at CCAFS this morning,” the Brevard County Emergency Operations Center said.

Witnesses said there were at least three explosions. The initial explosion happened about 9:15 a.m. Local television station WFTV live-streamed the smoke billowing from the site.

The explosion was so strong it shook buildings several miles away. A dark cloud of smoke filled the sky.

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