A SpaceX rocket exploded in a dramatic fireball after a test.
This is just the latest in a series of spectacular failures of Starship heavy rocket prototypes.
The Starship was used in ground tests at the company’s test facilities in south Texas as part of an attempt to precipitate the large metal rocket in flight.
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The explosion occurred a few hours before an independent launch which will see the Elon Musk space company launch two NASA astronauts from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida using a different rocket system, the Falcon 9 with the Crew capsule. Dragon fixed on top.
On Friday, a prototype disappeared in an explosive fireball at the SpaceX test site in Boca Chica, as shown by a livestream recorded by the NASA Spaceflight website. There were no immediate indications of injuries.
SpaceX did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Starship, a 394-foot-high rocket, is designed to transport humans and 100 tonnes of cargo to the Moon and Mars. It’s the space company’s next-generation fully reusable launcher, the center of Musk’s ambitions to make space travel affordable.
In March, Mr. Musk shared new images of the prototype, following a series of explosions that destroyed previous versions of the Starship rocket.
The South Texas facility sits next to a small neighborhood that SpaceX tried to buy to test the space, but some residents turned down the company’s offers and accused Musk’s attorneys of property appreciations unrealistic.
SpaceX was among three companies to which NASA awarded a billion dollars last month to develop rocket systems capable of transporting cargo and humans to the moon. SpaceX proposed Starship for the price.
The FAA on Thursday granted the space company a license to begin the first starship suborbital flight tests, but it was unclear when these tests would take place.