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SpaceX's Starship prototype explodes on landing after test launch

SpaceX's Starship prototype explodes on landing after test launch
SpaceX’s first super heavy-lift Starship SN8 rocket explodes during a return-landing attempt.
PHOTO: Reuters

SpaceX’s Starship rocket prototype exploded during a return-landing attempt on Wednesday (Dec 9), minutes after an apparently uneventful test launch from the company’s facility in Boca Chica, Texas, live video of the flight showed.

The Starship rocket destroyed was a 16-story-tall prototype for a heavy-lift launch vehicle being developed by Elon Musk’s private space company to carry humans and 100 tons of cargo on future missions to the moon and Mars.

The self-guided rocket blew up as it touched down on a landing pad following a controlled descent. The test flight had been intended to reach an altitude of 41,000 feet, propelled by three of SpaceX’s newly developed Raptor engines for the first time.

Musk said in a tweet immediately following the accident that the rocket’s “fuel header tank pressure was low” during descent, “causing touchdown velocity to be high.”

He added that SpaceX had obtained “all the data we needed” from the test.

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