Rocket destroyed in Canaveral launch pad explosion

A rocket due to be sent into space this weekend has exploded during a routine test in the U-S state of Florida.

An Isreali communications satellite the rocket was to put into orbit satellite was also destroyed  in the blast at the Cape Canaveral space station.

Witness Eric Cohen says his whole building shook.


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“There was a big smoke plume cloud,” he said.

“It was a little mushroom-shaped at the top (and) dark grey, really rising very quickly on the horizon.”

The blast is a marks a major setback for California-based SpaceX and its founder, internet entrepreneur Elon Musk.

Musk plans to revolutionize the industry by making rocket components reusable and slashing launch costs with the ultimate aim of making travel to Mars affordable.

The company is planning to send its first unmanned spacecraft to Mars in 2018 and send humans to the red planet as early as 2024.

“SpaceX 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,” the company said in a statement.

No one was injured.