SpaceX’s latest prototype exploded in a massive fireball during a test flight crash landing on Tuesday — meeting a similar fate as a previous test rocket.
The steel Starship prototype Serial Number 9 (SN9), went up in flames at the end of an otherwise successful high-altitude test from Boca Chica, Texas, according to stunning footage of the crash.”We had again another great flight,” a SpaceX announcer said during the online broadcast. “We’ve just got to work on that landing a little bit.”
The rocket launched at around 3:30 p.m. and flew as high as 10 kilometers, or about 32,800 feet altitude, before turning to a horizontal “belly flop” position and performing a series of maneuvers.
It then attempted to land upright, but appeared to come in too fast and at a bad angle, according to the footage.
The flight ended in a deafening crash, sparking a fiery explosion that sent up a cloud of dust and flames.
The explosion was similar to one in December, when the company’s SN8 rocket was destroyed.
Both are prototypes being developed by CEO Elon Musk’s space company in the hopes they’ll one day carry humans on missions to the moon and Mars.
Musk was uncharacteristically quiet on Twitter during Tuesday’s flight, having announced the night before that he was taking a break from the social media platform.
The tech billionaire had tweeted throughout the December flight, including to say that mission was largely a success despite the crash landing.
SpaceX didn’t immediately comment.
Both are prototypes being developed by CEO Elon Musk’s space company in the hopes of sending humans on missions to the moon and Mars.