Watch: SpaceX's Starship Rocket Crash Lands Again

SpaceX's Starship, the latest prototype of the rocket the company hopes will one day carry humans to Mars, exploded as it attempted to land on Tuesday.

The rocket, which the company hopes will take people to Mars, has been a "top SpaceX priority," of Elon Musk. A few months after his company-wide email announcing the goal, the company unveiled the Starship prototype, with hopes of reaching Mars this year.


Starship | SN9 | High-Altitude Flight Test

Tuesday's flight was a successful liftoff; the rocket travelled 6.2 miles. But as it reignited its three engines to begin its descent, they burst into flames.

"We've just got to work on that landing a little bit," SpaceX principal integration engineer John Insprucker said in the SpaceX flight webcast.

The flight attempt had been scheduled for the previous week, but was halted when the Federal Aviation Administration sent out an advisory, as the launch could "affect public safety," reported CNN.

The FAA ultimately granted its approval for the launch. It did not disclose what corrective actions were taken, reported Bloomberg.

SN8, an earlier prototype of the Starship saw a similar fate last December — it was the highest flight the company had seen, but as it returned to Earth, the rocket crash landed. Tuesday's prototype, SN9, reached 10 kilometers in altitude.

"Fuel header tank pressure was low during landing burn, causing touchdown velocity to be high & RUD, but we got all the data we needed!" Musk tweeted immediately after the rocket crashed.

SN10, the next prototype, was not harmed, though it was on a launch stand nearby, reported Ars Technica. It will likely be launched in a few weeks, for another attempt at an explosion-free landing.

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