SpaceX Starship SN8 detonates on arriving after a test flight

SpaceX’s Starship prototype has detonated while endeavoring to land after its test launch from the organization’s rocket office in Boca Chica, Texas. Live video of Wednesday’s test indicated the self-guided rocket arriving at speed following a controlled descent prior to vanishing in a ball of flame.

Notwithstanding the catastrophic end to the six-and-a-half-minute test, SpaceX entrepreneur Elon Musk was excited. “Mars, here we come!!” he tweeted.

The Starship rocket pulverized in the accident was a 16-story-tall prototype for the heavy-lift launch vehicle being created by Musk’s private space organization to convey people and 100 tons of cargo on future missions to the moon and Mars.

The test flight had been expected to arrive at a height of 41,000 feet (12,500 meters), moved by three of SpaceX’s recently evolved Raptor engines for the first time. SpaceX didn’t clarify whether the rocket had flown that high.

Musk said promptly following the arrival disaster that the rocket’s “fuel header tank pressure was low” during descent, “causing touchdown velocity to be high”. He added that SpaceX had acquired “all the data we needed” from the test and hailed the rocket’s rising phase a triumph.

SpaceX made its first attempt to launch Starship on Tuesday, however an issue with its Raptor engines constrained an automatic abort only one second before takeoff.

The total Starship rocket, which will stand 394ft (120m) tall when joined with its super-heavy first-stage supporter, is the organization’s next-generation completely reusable launch vehicle and the centre of Musk’s aspirations to make human space travel more affordable and routine.

Nasa awarded SpaceX $135m to help create Starship, close by contending vehicles from rival ventures Blue Origin, the space organization owned by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos, and Leidos-owned Dynetcis.

The three organizations are competing for future agreements to assemble the moon landers under Nasa’s Artemis program, which requires a series of human lunar investigations within the next decade.

SpaceX, situated in Hawthorne, California, has been purchasing up private properties in the Boca Chica town only north of the US-Mexico outskirt in south-eastern Texas to account for his growing Starship offices, which Musk imagines as a future “door to Mars”.