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Elon Musk Suffers A Huge Setback as Rocket to the International Space Station Explodes

A rocket destined for the International Space Station exploded minutes after liftoff.

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Entrepreneur Elon Musk wants to be a pioneer into the space business. He suffered a major setback Sunday morning.

A Falcon 9 rocket made by Musk’s company SpaceX exploded two minutes and 19 seconds after taking off from Cape Canaveral in Florida Sunday. The unmanned vehicle was meant to carry supplies to the International Space Station.

The cause of the accident remains under investigation. After the explosion, Musk tweeted the following:

The explosion is the latest setback private companies have experienced as they collaborate with NASA to explore the heavens. In April, a rocket made by a Russian company failed to reach orbit and plummeted back to Earth. Last October, a cargo rocket made by Orbital Sciences, a SpaceX competitor, barely got off the rocket pad before it was engulfed in flames.

The loss of the Falcon 9 rocket could be especially costly. It carried the first pair of international docking adapters, meant to allow private spacecrafts to dock with the space station. The first of these flights is scheduled for 2017.

Watch a video of the explosion below. It occurs around the 2:35 mark.

Photo Credit: Bruce Weaver/Getty Images

David Francis was a senior reporter for Foreign Policy, where he covered international finance. @davidcfrancis

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