Video: SpaceX Rocket Explodes over Texas


An experimental reusable rocket made by Space Exploration Technologies Corp. exploded over Texas on Friday, the company announced.

The test booster, known as the F9R and a successor to the Grasshopper rocket, self-destructed several hundred feet over the company’s facility in McGregor after a problem was detected. There were no injuries.

“Three engine F9R Dev1 vehicle auto-terminated during test flight,” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted. “No injuries or near injuries. Rockets are tricky.”

The local news broadcaster KWTX captured this video of the explosion:

SpaceX is based outside Los Angeles in Hawthorne, California, and has more than 3,000 employees, including 250 workers at a rocket development facility in McGregor, Texas.

In addition to its NASA and commercial business, the company is seeking to break into the military launch market dominated by United Launch Alliance LLC, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin Corp. and Boeing Co. The company is trying to develop reusable rockets to lower launch costs.

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Brendan McGarry
Brendan McGarry is the managing editor of He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @Brendan_McGarry.
  • Captain Obvious

    Figures a rocket company would self detonate their own product in order to extract more money from the federal government.

    • KnownKnowns

      First, it blew itself up automatically as a safety feature to protect people on the ground. Second, this is part of SpaceX’s private research into reusable rockets and the government hasn’t paid a penny for any of it.

      • John Deere

        This isn’t “private research”, it is funded by the US taxpayer.

    • Bruce

      Captain Oblivious may be a more appropriate username in this case. *chuckle*

  • earwig42

    It seems that Elon Musk thinks the taxpayer should fund all his wishes whims and desires..

    Google Elon Musk government subsidies.

    I pay my taxes so that he can get richer? That’s not right.

    • Andrew4488

      You, sir, clearly don’t know a thing about Elon Musk or the loan-not a subsidy-that Tesla repaid (with interest) nine years before its maturity.

    • blight_asdf

      It’d be more patriotic if Elon Musk got a cost-plus contract, amirite?

    • rlmorlan

      Right , so if you can get up on the devils back, ride him for all he’s worth never-mind kill the flucker and free mankind!

    • Bernard

      Because it makes more sense for the US taxpayers to buy Russian rockets instead of American made rockets?

    • EMusK

      How much does Lockheed pay your marketing firm to post junk like this? Don’t you get depressed and want to jump out a window?

    • Axe

      Your taxes are going to Russia!! courtesy of ULA- Russia monopoly

    • Dfens

      He would rather his taxes go to keeping Bob Steven’s salary at Lockheed at his customary $25 million/year. Lockheed doesn’t have any presence in the “free market” anymore. They also don’t have a single program that’s on budget or on time. I guess that’s what makes it so appealing to give them so much free money.

    • sed

      Not seems. Elon Musk absolutely believes that it’s govts job to fund his dreams. All businessmen think that way.

  • Mitch S.

    Musk’s ego can hit a nerve at times but it has to be said that Space-X is no Solyndra.
    Space-X has a record of successful launches including resupplying ISS, something that NASA cannot do at any price, and will not be able to do for what Space-X charges.

    • Curt

      Well, actually since NASA pays for Space-X to do the resupply mission, technically they can do it for exactly what Space-X charges.

  • tinker


    Misguided ‘conservatives ‘ wouldn’t know a gift-horse if it slapped it’s tail across their face. Elon Musk is handing America an entire space program on a silver platter (including the colonization of Mars on American built rockets). He’s a true capitalist too, fully intending to make a ton of cash along the way. Companies like Lockheed Martin and Boeing have been sucking at the government teat for decades without regard of making America great or first at anything. All they care about is corporate self-survival and nothing else.

    It’s such a shame that Tea Partly rhetoric has twisted conservatism into selfish, single minded, self-serving moaning about “my taxpayer dollars”. Read some history about the great things conservative governments have done in America. You’ll go “What? They must have been Democrats!”. But they weren’t! The Democrats have picked up what used to be conservative agenda because Conservatives dropped those agendas because of the libertarian Tea Party usurpers that have infected the Republican Party.

    The smart money is on Elon Musk, democrats and true conservatives both agree on this!


    • earwig42

      google Elon Musk rent seeker

      And the paid Musk fanboys will weigh in in 5 4 3 2

    • guest

      That conservative obama shouldn’t have killed the US space program, but he did. Oh, that was bc of sequestration funding, wasn’t it.
      You sound like you been hatin’ your fellow Americans a little too much bc they did something you didn’t like. If you really look into it, I think you will find that your liberal hero’s are at fault. so you are hatin’ the wrong folks. You shouldn’t be hatin’ anybody. It’s not healthy.
      BTW, I used to work for United Technologies in San Jose. We built a lot of rockets and hardly any of them blew up. Those liquids are tricky.
      And I like Elon. We need more like him; less like you.

      • John Deere

        Er… Bush ended the shuttle program, not Obama. Under Obama NASA began the Space Launch System. This new rocket can deliver 155 metric tons into low Earth orbit, or send 50 tons direct to Mars. First flight is scheduled for 2018.

    • Mystick

      While I agree with the assertion that privately funded and executed space ventures is the ONLY future that will work, many of the problems associated with NASA and other public-sector aims in space have been the ball-of-yarn plaything for politicians from both parties ever since we were slapped in the face by Russia with Sputnik.

      Back-and-forth between BOTH political parties is to blame for so many dead-end funding cancellations, bloated projects, Congressional district corporate welfare ventures, and overall stagnation not only in the field of space exploration, but for almost every part of our country today. The economy, social friction, class warfare, immigration, systemic violence - all of the problems that we see on the “news” can be laid at the feet of the bloody tug-of-war between Democrats and Republicans. Instead of working together for a better future, the goal now seems to be “how do we screw those other guys”, without thought to the damage being inflicted upon We, The People.

      And We eat it up, entranced by the glamor and gadgetry of the modern-day Coliseum games, the faux tribalism - the seduction to choose one side or the other to further their numbers on the scoreboard. Warrior zealots for the twisted, anointed priesthood guiding our world for their own end.

      We need to get beyond this, and get beyond it FAST because that smoky smell isn’t the burger on the grill in the Coliseum, but rather the City burning around it. We are not immune to the pitfalls of History, and we are on track to repeat so much of it if we don’t wise up and rise above the petty games of Power and Influence that have corrupted every ancestral empire into extinction.

  • anton

    This was a good test wich worked as wanted!!

  • @thacranksta

    its not the grasshopper that rocket has been retired for a year this rocket is called the Falcon 9r

  • RunningBear

    The Falcon F9R Dev1 looked a little high and climbing for McGregor (0.47 mi./ 2493.438 ft. (760-meter) ceiling the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) imposed for launches from SpaceX’s rocket test site in McGregor, Texas).

    It might have passed thru the “hover mode”?

    Good Luck SpaceX :-)

  • NotReallyHere

    Well there is always F9R Dev2, for NM.

  • Rne

    Conservatives did this, liberals did that, or they didn’t. Both sides want to one up over the other in this issue and most every other. The way to success is work together to further the betterment of America. We screw around to blame the other side while China beats us to the finish line. I don’t care who does it or where they’re from, I just want to see us (US) be the best. We need it to survive the onslaught of our enemies.

    • Dfens

      It’s so good to hear from someone who gets it.

      • yeah right

        No he doesn’t. Neither do you.

    • yeah right

      Like the vast majority of Americans, you haven’t the slightest clue about who the enemy is. You don’t know who’s running the country or how.

  • Axe

    I’m sure the ULA-Russia monopoly and its paid US congressmen are celebrating this Spacex failure. Every REAL American should support Spacex for what they are doing. Republican or Democrat; they are revolutionizing space travel with US-made rockets. This is the reason we find failures.

    • Dfens

      Their celebration could only be muted by the fact that they aren’t even attempting to do anything remotely like building a rocket first stage that can land itself back on solid ground to be refueled and relaunched.

  • jsallison

    Failure? It’s rocket science, and rockets blow up. Better to do it now in testing than have it cost us 6/7 lives a pop in operations as a certain governmental cost plus program did, twice.


    Darn, the US is surely on its way to colonizing Mars by 2025.



      SpaceX had better change its business to shooting X-rated movies in space. It’s far cheaper, far more doable and profitable than working on some BS rockets that is going nowhere.

      • hall

        I was going to suggest that they start preparing Area 51 for a faked manned Mars landing but I think your suggestion will cost a lot less than faked landings like the Apollo program.

        I like the idea of SpaceX doing XXX movies in space.

        • sed

          This is not 1969. You can’t fake landings anymore no matter how much money you have.

          • yeah right

            Normally yes, but we are not talking about normal people. Never underestimate the resolve and creativity of those in the military industrial complex. They did not take over the US government by being stupid.

      • libb

        Excellent suggestion. They don’t even need to change the name. SpaceX for XXX movies in space. Hilarious. LOL. Shooting X movies is far more beneficial to mankind than shooting rockets to Mars, which is a complete waste of money except helping the military industrial complex to wage wars with new weaponry.

    • sed

      Colonizing Mars by 2025? What’s the name of the bonehead who said it? They can’t land a man on the moon by 2025.

  • Patriot

    It’s sad how much ignorance is fostered in this country by both an uneducated and educated citizenry. KnownKnowns and tinker get it (and some others) Some posters I am surprised can read.

  • RRBunn

    Space-X is doing well. The engineering they have done is on par with what NASA did in the 1960’s. For REAL conservatives, this is private industry with all of the competition and benefits. For those who take the risks there may be rewards. Capitalism! If your problem is the Government space program, that is a different issue. the Tea Party says our Government needs to be minimized, but it is up to the PEOPLE to decide what they want their Government to do. That regardless of your political leanings is democracy.