SpaceX's highly-anticipated Starship prototype goes up in flames during landing

Written on 02/04/2021
Ciarán Mather

The prototype of SpaceX's Starship rocket exploded during a landing attempt at Boca Chica in Texas on Tuesday, it has been revealed.

The vessel, which is an SN9 model, managed to boost itself 10 kilometres (6 miles) into the sky before falling back down to Texas.

As the SN9 prepared to 'belly-flop', it tried to reactivate two of its three Raptor thrusters, but one failed to ignite. 

This resulted in the rocket becoming a metallic inferno.

Fortunately, no injuries were reported at the incident.

A SpaceX commentator for Tuesday's launch webcast said the rocket's purpose was to its test its altitude capabilities.

The commentator added that most of the SN9's subsonic re-entry 'looked very good and stable, like [the one] we saw last December.'

This is referring to the prototype SN8 model, which similarly crash-landed back in December. 

The commentator added about the SN9: 'We just have to work on that landing a little bit: this is a test flight, the second time we've flown Starship in this configuration.'

Both the SN8 and the SN9 are part of SpaceX's goals to act as vehicles to transport both cargo and humans to Earth's moon and even Mars in the future.

The news follows after SpaceX and Tesla's CEO, Elon Musk, announced that he planned to take an unspecified break off Twitter.

However, Musk seemingly went back on this decision the very next day by tweeting news about the SN9 and sharing memes, mostly about the internet character 'Doge'.

He even joked about the crash-landing on Twitter, saying: 'Next time, we try [the] pull *up* method.'

It would seem that Musk's optimism hasn't burnt out just yet!

In other related (and strange) Texas news, the state's police department have had to issue an apology after they released a fake Amber Alert message about the fictional horror serial-killer, Chucky the doll.