There’s been a major explosion during a test firing of the Space X rocket that was due to launch the Amos 6 satellite this weekend.
“Space X can confirm that in preparation for today’s static fire 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,” the company said in a statement.
It’s understood an explosion ripped through the launch pad at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Buildings shook several miles away.
The Falcon 9 launch would have been the ninth of 2016 and at 5,500 kilogrammes Amos 6 would have been its heaviest to date.
Spacecom reiterated the Space X statement, adding: “SpaceX is continuing to determine the cause of this anomaly and Spacecom will report this news as we can”.
Amos 6 would have replaced the ageing Amos 2 craft, providing services to Western, Central and Eastern Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.
Its Ka-band beams had been selected by Facebook to be the satellite backbone of its initiative to bring broadband Internet to Sub-Sahara Africa with Eutelsat.
“Eutelsat remains committed to growing broadband in Africa and will explore other options to serve the needs of key clients ahead of the launch of its own full-High Throughput African broadband satellite, due in 2019,” the Paris-based operator said in a statement.
The impact on Eutelsat’s revenues is estimated at around €5 million in FY 2016-17, €15 million in FY 2017-18 and €25-30 million in FY 2018-19. Spacecom itself is the subject of a $285 million sale to the Chinese-backed Luxembourg Space Telecommunications.
Spacecom itself is the subject of a $285 million sale to the Chinese-backed Luxembourg Space Telecommunications.