An unmanned SpaceX Falcon-9 rocket exploded shortly after launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Sunday.
The rocket was on a mission to send a Dragon cargo ship to the International Space Station. The explosion occurred 2 minutes 21 seconds after takeoff at 10.21 Eastern time when the first stage of the rocket was due to separate.
“The vehicle has broken up,” said George Diller on the NASA television broadcast.
SpaceX, founded by Elon Musk, 44, has a $1.6 billion contract with NASA to resupply the ISS.
Sunday's explosion follows similar failures to deliver cargo to the ISS. An Antares rocket, built by Orbital ATK, exploded last October in Virginia, while a Russian Progress rocket failed to reach the Space Station in May.
The astronauts on board the ISS have several months of supplies and are not in danger, according to the New York Times.
SpaceX's intent is to recover the first stage of the rocket via a floating platform on the ocean after launch. This would greatly reduce the cost of the missions.