Washington: A prototype of Elon Musk’s aerospace company SpaceX’s next-generation heavy-lift rocket Starship exploded on landing after a high-altitude test flight in Texas on Wednesday.
The launch and ascent of Starship serial number 8 (SN8) were successful, but as the engines appeared to reignite for landing, the vehicle flipped back to vertical and then slammed into the ground, Xinhua reported.
The company said Starship SN8 lifted off from the launch pad in Cameron County, Texas, and successfully ascended, transitioned propellant, and performed its landing flip maneuver with precise flap control to reach its landing point.
Yet, “low pressure in the fuel header tank during the landing burn led to high touchdown velocity,” SpaceX said on its website.
Starship is SpaceX’s fully reusable transportation system designed to carry both crew and cargo to the Earth’s orbit, the Moon, Mars, and beyond.
Earlier this month, Musk said the company is working towards launch of an uncrewed Mars flight in about two years.