An unmanned SpaceX Falcon 9R rocket broke up in midair soon after it took off at the company’s development site in Texas. No one was hurt in the crash, which happened during a test flight.
A three-engine version of the Falcon 9 rocket was being tested on Friday, based on SpaceX’s Grasshopper prototype.
“During the flight, an anomaly was detected in the vehicle and the flight termination system automatically terminated the mission,” the company said in a statement on Friday.
“Throughout the test and subsequent flight termination, the vehicle remained in the designated flight area,” it added.
The test flight pushed the limits of the rocket “further than any previous test.”
An investigation will be conducted to determine what went wrong before proceeding with another test.
SpaceX is working to be the first commercial company to be able to take astronauts to space as early as 2017 via reusable spacecraft.
Since the end of the US space shuttle program in 2011, Russian Soyuz spacecraft have been the only way astronauts can get to and from the ISS at a cost of $70 million each.