SpaceX’s Starship prototype exploded Tuesday during a test flight.
The prototype, SN9, conducted a successful launch, but lost thrust on its descent and crashed into the ground. The test was almost identical to the test of the SN8 prototype, which also experienced a failure seconds before it crashed.
The Starship is intended to be SpaceX’s vehicle to Mars. The purpose of SN9 was to collect data on the booster’s unique landing technique – a belly-flop maneuver to slow the freefall, then a flip for an upright landing.
SpaceX will waste no time with additional testing of prototypes. The SN10 could begin ground tests in the coming week and could possibly launch before the end of the month.