THE SpaceX Starship rocket crashed and exploded as it attempted to land during a test run in Texas.
The explosion happened at roughly 3.40pm ET in Boca Chica on Tuesday afternoon.
The shuttle was seen heading towards the landing pad, before flipping and crashing into the ground.
The next-generation spacecraft reached an altitude of around six miles before plummeting back towards the ground.
The vessel burst into flames, with a loud bang being heard echoing in the live stream.
SpaceX were conducting a Starship SN9 High Altitude Flight Test when the crash-landing happened.
The company was live-streaming the test run on social media to thousands of followers.
“We’ve just got to work on that landing a little bit,” said John Insprucker, a SpaceX engineer hosting a webcast of the test.
When the prototype fired its engines in an attempt to get back to a vertical orientation, it appeared one engine didn’t fully ignite.
This caused the Starship to crash into the ground at an angle, before exploding into a fireball.
The explosion was a repeat of an accident that destroyed a previous test rocket.
The Starship SN9 that blew up on its final descent, like the SN8 destroyed before it, was a prototype for the heavy-lift rocket being developed by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk’s private space company to carry humans and 100 tons of cargo on future missions to the moon and Mars.
Elon Musk aired his frustrations on Twitter, describing the part of the Federal Aviation Administration that oversees SpaceX as “fundamentally broken.”
Musk wrote, “Their rules are meant for a handful of expendable launches per year from a few government facilities. Under those rules, humanity will never get to Mars.”
SpaceX fans have been dying to see the present iteration of Starship take to the skies after the crash landing of SN8 in December last year.
Unfortunately, Starship failed to stick the landing after it appeared to lose control just before it reached the ground.
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Seconds before crashing, some debris appeared to break off from the rocket.
SN9 then crashed into the ground and was blown to smithereens.
According to NASASpaceFlight, one of Starship’s Raptor engines struggled to ignite just before the hard landing.
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