SpaceX Test Of Starship Prototype Ends In Fireball, Musk Hails Achievement

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Unfortunately, the burn didn't slow the SN8 down soon enough or fast enough, it hit the middle of the landing pad, and exploded. The rocket and its Super Heavy booster are being created to take on missions ranging from satellite deployments and point-to-point terrestrial travel to moon landings, Mars trips and odysseys to the outer planets.

Nevertheless, this still marks a major leap forward for SpaceX's forthcoming legacy vehicle - created to eventually take humans to Mars, for the first time. SN8 dropped out of the sky / free-fell for what felt like an eternity (the belly flop maneuver), before it reignited the engines and flipped back vertically for the landing. "Awesome test", "nice work", SpaceX commented after the hard landing yesterday.

"Mars, here we come!".

"Successful ascent, switchover to header tanks & precise flap control to landing point!" founder Elon Musk tweeted after the explosive landing. SpaceX's flight controller could be heard on the stream congratulating the team on a job well done.

The Starship was attempting to reach about 41,000 feet in the test, which was also the first flight for SpaceX's newest Raptor engine.

Musk frequently visits Texas where Tesla and his startup Boring Company have operations and also a SpaceX facility that began its operations in 2003. This is a test, so there's no guarantee the prototype, designated SN8, will blast off today from SpaceX's test site in Boca Chica, Texas.

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The prototype rocketship that was launched was steel with a nose cone, body folds and three Raptor engines.

But the company line was upbeat as a livestream of the launch displayed the on-screen message "AWESOME TEST".

SpaceX has already flown five starship test flights, but these earlier, simpler models did not go above 490 feet.

This Starship prototype is the second stage of a super-heavy-lift launch vehicle that has been under development by SpaceX since 2012.

SpaceX have said that its Falcon 9 rocket cost $54 million, while the Starship is said to cost "roughly four times as much to build", which put SpaceX's SN8 Starship at around $216 million, according to financial advice company Motely Fool.

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