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SpaceX Explosion! 'Rockets Are Tricky,' Says Musk

Aug 25, 2014 02:25 PM EDT

Genius entrepreneur billionaire Elon Musk will be the first to admit that "rockets are tricky," and he owns a team of rocket scientists.

That's at least what he said Friday night, after one of his company's reusable Falcon rockets self destructed a few seconds into a test launch.

Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) has been at the forefront of reusable rocket technologies, with its CEO and founder, Elon Musk, dreaming of one day building the kind of come-and-go spaceports seen in science fiction.

Just last month, a SpaceX Falcon9 rocket successfully landed a new and reusable version of the rocket booster stage - a concept that could save a considerable amount of time and money that would have otherwise been dedicated to building a new rocket for each flight.

However, not everything has gone as smoothly. You can watch pieces of the company's latest Falcon9 Reusable (F9R) - the successor of the "Grasshopper" prototype - fall from the sky above McGregor, Texas as slack-jawed enthusiasts looked on in horror during last Friday's explosion.

SpaceX quickly released a statement explaining that "an anomaly was detected in the vehicle and the flight termination system automatically terminated the mission."

When you think "flight termination," cutting engine power with a kill-switch comes to mind, but onlookers instead got to see the drama of a full explosion in the sky. According to the company, the explosion ensured that the wayward rocket stayed within its designated flight area, and didn't come crashing down on some unsuspecting Texas street corner.

A giant explosion in the sky certainly wasn't what the company was looking for - that was a very costly day-time firework - but SpaceX spokespeople are quick to point out that this is the very purpose of flight tests.

"Today's test was particularly complex, pushing the limits of the vehicle further than any previous test," read a statement.

Limits were certainly pushed Friday, but "rockets are tricky" and cracking a few eggs to make an omelet is certainly not unheard of.

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