Dramatic Video Captures SpaceX Rocket Explosion at Launch Site

Video shows moment SpaceX rocket turned into a fireball at Florida launchpad.

ByABC News
September 1, 2016, 2:22 PM

— -- Dramatic footage of the moment that a SpaceX rocket exploded at a launchpad in Florida has surfaced.

The video, recorded by USLaunchReport and provided to ABC News, shows the doomed SpaceX Falcon rocket during the ill-fated fueling process.

All appears normal with the rocket, upright and connected to various ground infrastructure, before an explosion flashes from the top third of the rocket, sending a ball of fire outward and raining flames onto the tarmac.

In the first few seconds, the fireball rushes upward like a mushroom cloud while streams of fire shoot out from below.

Within about four seconds of the initial flash, the fireball — which at this point has consumed and obscured the rocket and its million-dollar payload — convulses outward with bulging deep orange flames and billowing black smoke.

Within about six seconds, the fireball reaches its peak, with black smoke beginning to overtake the flames and the melting rocket remnants and an adjacent tower silhouetted against the diminishing fireball.

About 10 seconds after the initial flash, as flames and black smoke continue to consume the launch site, the conelike rocket top appears, peeling off support infrastructure and crashing to the ground. A second fireball emerges with a flash of yellow and flying debris.

Approximately 12 seconds after the flash, the first explosion can be heard — a delay due to the fact that the video was shot at a distance.

The first explosion sounds muted compared with the explosion heard four seconds later, a violent crashing sound that is followed by rumble, which persists for more than 20 seconds and is interspersed with smaller booms.

For several more minutes, a smaller ball of orange flames and pitch black smoke persists where the rocket stood.

A second large explosion rocks the site, about 2 1/2 minutes after the first explosion, just when the initial fireball begins to die down and black smoke overtakes the site.

The explosion shoots upward from the ground, with billowing orange and yellow mushroomlike clouds, traced by streaks of black smoke.

The fire continues raging for several minutes until the video ends.

ABC News' Fergal Gallagher contributed to this report.

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