SpaceX rocket explodes at Cape Canaveral ahead of launch

A rocket operated by the aerospace company SpaceX has exploded on the launch pad at Cape Canaveral where it was being test-fired ahead of a launch.

The force of the blast shook buildings several miles away and sent a plume of smoke high above the complex.

SpaceX said "an anomaly" had occurred while the rocket was being loaded with fuel. It said no-one was injured.

It said the rocket's payload, a communications satellite due to launch on Saturday, was also destroyed.

Facebook, in partnership with Eutelsat Communications, had been due to use the Israeli-built Amos-6 satellite to deliver broadband internet coverage for swathes of sub-Saharan Africa as part of its initiative.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who is currently visiting Africa, said he was "deeply disappointed" to hear that the satellite had been destroyed