NASA's Space X rocket explodes after liftoff
Miami: A SpaceX falcon 9 rocket which was on a routine cargo mission to the International Space Station., exploded minutes after its launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida.
“The vehicle has broken up,we appear to have had a launch vehicle failure," said Nasa commentator George Diller, after Nasa television broadcast images of the rocket falling to pieces.
A live webcast went silent about two minutes and 19 seconds into the flight, and debris could be seen showering into the Atlantic Ocean.
The disaster was the first of its kind for privately owned Space Exploration Technologies, led by entrepreneur Elon Musk.
Skies were sunny and clear for the 10.21am (1421 GMT) launch of the gleaming white Falcon 9 rocket that was meant to propel the Dragon cargo ship to the International Space Station on a routine supply mission, the seventh for SpaceX so far.
But two minutes, 19 seconds into the flight, contact was lost. Live television images from SpaceX's webcast and Nasa television showed a huge puff of smoke billowing outward, then tiny bits of the rocket falling like confetti against a backdrop of blue sky.
SpaceX made two other failed attempts to land a reusable Falcon 9 this year, with the goal of one day making rockets as reusable as airplanes.
Two previous cargo launches have failed, including an Antares rocket in October, built by SpaceX rival Orbital ATK. That blew up on the launch pad in Virginia.