SpaceX rocket explodes during unmanned test flight

HARRISON RUESS, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:40 AM ET

Private space company SpaceX suffered a setback Friday, when an unmanned test flight of a rocket exploded over Texas.

In a statement, the company said, "Earlier (Friday), in McGregor, Texas, SpaceX conducted a test flight of a three engine version of the F9R test vehicle. During the flight, an anomaly was detected in the vehicle and the flight termination system automatically terminated the mission."

SpaceX spokesperson John Taylor also made clear there were no injuries and the rocket - and subsequent debris - remained within the designated flight area.

An official from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was also present during the test flight.

SpaceX has been working to develop reusable rockets - that is rockets which are able to return to a designated landing area safely after delivering their cargo to space.

The company hopes this will increase efficiency and dramatically reduce the cost of launching cargo, or people, into space.

The F9R - or Falcon 9 Reusable - being tested Friday was a successor to the company's previous test reusable vehicle dubbed Grasshopper. The F9R is also similar to the SpaceX Falcon 9 which is used to launch cargo into space for private and government customers, such as NASA and the Canadian Space Agency.

Friday's loss of the rocket is a setback, though SpaceX pointed out that the test was especially complex and was pushing the limits of the vehicle.

SpaceX founder Elon Musk tweeted, "Rockets are tricky," following the accident.

The company will now review the flight records and analyze the data ahead of the next test flight.

-- With files from Reuters


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