Starship SN11 Prototype Explodes During Test

A test of SpaceX’s Starship rocket ended Tuesday with an explosion. 

The SN11 prototype climbed to its target altitude of about 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) above SpaceX’s Boca Chica, Texas launch site, but suffered an explosion during some part of the test.

Cameras covering the broadcast cut out before it was clear what happened.

“Looks like we’ve had another exciting test of Starship Number 11,” the commentator said during the broadcast. “Starship 11 is not coming back, do not wait for the landing.”

“Something significant happened shortly after landing burn start,” Chief Executive Elon Musk tweeted. “Should know what it was once we can examine the bits later today.”

SN11 went the way of its predecessors. SpaceX has conducted four successful launches, that have all ended with an explosion during the landing attempt. 

The Starship project is significant for SpaceX, as it’s the vehicle that the company plans to use to transport humans into space and make the long trek to Mars and the moon. Musk has said that Starship could carry as many as 100 people into space.

Musk said the company is already readying another upgraded prototype for a test. “Hopefully, one of those improvements covers this problem,” he said.

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