Here's what you need to know about the SpaceX rocket that just exploded

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket exploded on the launch pad during a test fire Thursday morning:

Here’s a closer look at the Falcon 9 rocket from Elon Musk’s private space company.

The Falcon 9 is a 230-foot-tall rocket.

Its inaugural test flight was in 2010. Falcon 9 has since launched 19 times.

Falcon 9 launches supplies to the International Space Station in 2014.

Source: SpaceX

Falcon 9, as the number suggests, is a later generation of SpaceX's original Falcon 1 rocket.

Falcon 1.

Falcon 9's greatest appeal is that it's reusable. Once it delivers satellites to orbit or supplies to the International Space Station, the first stage of the rocket comes back to Earth.

SpaceX

The first stage of Falcon 9 can land back on a launchpad, or on a wobbly ship at sea.

In the last year alone, SpaceX has successfully launched and landed Falcon 9 six times.

Each Falcon 9 rocket costs about $60 million to build.

SpaceX

Source: The Verge

Reusable rockets can save SpaceX millions of dollars, since the company doesn't have to start from scratch and build a whole new rocket every time.

SpaceX
Three Falcon 9 boosters that were recovered.

Rockets obviously need a lot of tests to make sure they are ready to go to space. The test SpaceX was conducting September 1 was a static test fire. According to SpaceX, the explosion occurred 'in preparation for (the) static fire.'

The smoke plume billowing from SpaceX's Falcon 9 explosion on the launchpad during a test on September 1, 2016.

Source: Business Insider

This is what a successful Falcon 9 static test fire looks like:

The last major SpaceX explosion was in the air in June 2015. Supplies bound for the International Space Station were lost.

NASA
SpaceX rocket exploding

Source: Business Insider

SpaceX hopes to one day take humans to Mars in its Falcon Heavy rocket, the next generation after Falcon 9.

Wikimedia Commons: SpaceX

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