SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket explosion: what we know so far

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket exploded in Cape Canaveral, Florida on Thursday at around 6:07am PT/9:07am ET/2:07pm GMT, destroying the rocket as well as the payload it was intended to carry to orbit.

The blast was so strong, it reportedly shook buildings several miles away. The massive plumes of smoke were large enough to be picked up by weather radar.

The rocket was due to launch Saturday to bring the AMOS-6 satellite into space, but it exploded during a routine rocket test. Known as a static fire test, this run-through is performed by restraining a rocket and turning on its engines. Think of it as a full dress rehearsal for launch.

SpaceX initially thought the explosion was due to “an anomaly on the [launch] pad” but later clarified that a problem with the rocket’s oxygen tank was to blame. In the video below, you can see the oxygen tank, which is located in the upper portion of the Falcon 9, explode.