Explosion rocks SpaceX launch site in Florida during test

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A Facebook spokesman says the company is disappointed by the loss of a satellite in the SpaceX explosion that was part of a plan to bring internet service to areas of sub-Saharan Africa.

Chris Norton says Facebook remains “committed to our mission of connecting people to the Internet around the world.”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is currently on his first visit to sub-Saharan Africa, with stops so far in Nigeria and Kenya.

NASA says SpaceX was conducting a test firing of its unmanned rocket when the blast occurred Thursday morning. The test, considered routine, was in advance of a planned Saturday launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Buildings several miles away shook from the blast, and multiple explosions continued for several minutes. A cloud of dark smoke filled the overcast sky.

Additional details were not immediately available. But sirens could be heard in the aftermath.