SpaceX Starship rocket prototype crashes during landing attempt

BOCA CHICA, Texas — The latest SpaceX prototype for its Starship rocket launched cleanly Tuesday morning but was destroyed attempting to land in Boca Chica, Texas.

The company’s stainless steel prototype Serial Number 11, or SN11, reportedly reached its target altitude of about 6.2 miles, or roughly 32,800 feet, but dense fog around the SpaceX facility – coupled with the livestream of the flight test freezing as the rocket approached its landing mark – made it difficult for viewers to witness the fiery crash, CNBC reported.

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“At least the crater is in the right place!” Elon Musk, the founder, CEO, CTO and chief designer of SpaceX, tweeted shortly after the explosion.

“Looks like engine 2 had issues on ascent & didn’t reach operating chamber pressure during landing burn, but, in theory, it wasn’t needed. Something significant happened shortly after landing burn start. Should know what it was once we can examine the bits later today,” Musk wrote.

SpaceX is developing Starship with the goal of launching cargo and people on missions to the moon and Mars, CNBC reported.

Tuesday’s launch followed a 24-hour delay, the second in three days after a Friday launch was scrubbed after changing out of the craft’s three Raptor engines, space.com reported.

“Looks like we’ve had another exciting test of Starship Number 11,” John Insprucker, launch commentator for SpaceX, said about six minutes into the launch’s livestream, the outlet reported.

“Starship 11 is not coming back, do not wait for the landing,” Insprucker added.