The prototype SN8 climbed 12.5 km, then turned off and turned on the engines again; only two worked. When trying to land, the rocket did not have time to extinguish the vertical speed and exploded.
SpaceX said that the Raptor rocket engine installed on the prototype stopped working in an emergency. Musk said the company experienced “successful takeoff, switching to the upper fuel tanks, and precise control of the flaps all the way to the landing point.”
The head of SpaceX considered the tests successful. “We have received all the necessary data! Congratulations to the SpaceX team, damn it!” wrote Musk.
This is not the first starship explosion — in May, the prototype exploded after testing began at the Boca Chica test site in Texas. This was the fourth failed test of the ship since November 2019.