Minutes after taking off on its first test flight on Thursday, SpaceX's massive new rocket caught fire and plummeted into the Gulf of Mexico.
Elon Musk's business planned to launch the biggest and most potent rocket ever made from the southernmost point of Texas, close to the Mexican border. The 120-meter (almost 400-foot) long Starship was empty of passengers or satellites.
Later, SpaceX said that some of the 33-engine booster's engines were not burning during the rocket's ascent, which caused it to lose altitude and start to fall. The rocket's self-destruct mechanism purposefully destroyed it, causing it to explode and crash into the lake.
Minutes after liftoff, the rocket was supposed to separate from the spaceship, but that didn't happen. Four minutes into the flight, the rocket started to tumble before exploding and falling into the gulf.
The spacecraft was planned to proceed east after detaching and make an attempt to round the earth before crashing into the Pacific Ocean close to Hawaii.
Before stage separation, Starship "experienced a rapid unscheduled disassembly," according to SpaceX.
The whole voyage, which under the best-case scenario would have taken 1.5 hours with the spacecraft doing a full circuit of the globe, really only took four minutes. Its top speed was at 1,300 mph (2,100 kph).
Musk referred to Thursday's unsuccessful attempt as "an amazing test launch of Starship! A lot was learned for the next test launch."
In the weeks before takeoff, Musk predicted a 50/50 chance that the spaceship would reach orbit and avoid what SpaceX refers to as a "rapid unscheduled disassembly." Not blowing up the launch pad, he claimed, would be a victory.
Engineer John Insprucker, a commenter on the SpaceX webcast, remarked, "You never know exactly what's going to happen." But as we said, there would be excitement, and Starship delivered us a really fantastic ending.
The second effort this week occurred on Thursday. A frozen booster valve caused Monday's attempt to be abandoned.