Two rocket failures get autumn off to a bad start

Cape Canaveral explosion destroys ‘Facebook satellite’, while mystery surrounds fate of Chinese mission

September has not seen a good start for rocket launches, with both US and Chinese failures. At 9.07am EDT on the 1st, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket exploded on the launch pad at Cape Canaveral, destroying a $200m Israeli communications satellite called Amos 6.

The accident took place during a practice countdown during which fuel is pumped into the rocket and the engines started to make sure everything is working properly. Clearly they were not.

Continue reading…