SpaceX Rocket Engine Explodes During Test In Texas

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA/AP) – A rocket engine being developed by Elon Musk’s Hawthorne-based SpaceX exploded during a test in Texas.

The Washington Post reports the Merlin engine exploded Sunday during a “qualification test.” In a statement, SpaceX said no one was hurt and the engine in question is new and has not been flown yet. The Merlin engine would be used to power a future version of the multimillion-dollar SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

The cause of the explosion is under investigation, SpaceX said.

In September 2016, the Falcon 9 rocket exploded at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida while it was being fueled ahead of a standard pre-launch test. SpaceX said the explosion occurred around the upper-stage oxygen tank.

In June 2015, a Falcon loaded with space station supplies disintegrated shortly after liftoff. SpaceX determined that a support strut broke.

The Falcon 9 is used to launch commercial satellites and deliver cargo to the International Space Station. In March, SpaceX successfully began using recycled Falcon 9 rockets for its launches. The recycled rockets help reduce costs and speed up flights.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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