A prototype of the future giant SpaceX rocket Starship — which the company hopes will become its go-to for Mars missions — crashed in a fiery explosion during a test launch along the Texas coast on Wednesday.
The 16-story-tall Starship designed to eventually fulfill CEO Elon Musk’s dream of taking humans to Mars -was expected to fly 41,000 feet into the sky, but it’s not clear whether it reached that altitude.
The spacecraft exploded dramatically on landing – but the explosion was not unexpected. Musk had said he thought there was a two-in-three chance the test would fail.
The rocket’s test flight was intended to reach an altitude of 41,000 feet (12,500 metres), however, SpaceX did not clarify whether the Starship prototype was able to reach the height during the test flight.
During SpaceX’s first attempt on Tuesday to launch Starship, a problem in the Raptor engine forced an automatic abort one second before the launch.
The Starship prototype that exploded on Wednesday was 16-storey-tall. The complete Starship rocket, which will stand 394ft (120m) tall when combined with its super-heavy first-stage booster.
The rocket is one of Elon Musks most ambitious projects that would help in making human space travel more affordable and routine.
SpaceX’s owner, Elon Musk, tweeted, “Mars, here we come!!” after the Starship rocket exploded.