SpaceX’s SN11 Rocket Prototype Explodes Upon Landing
Elon Musk’s SpaceX suffered another setback Tuesday when one of its experimental rockets malfunctioned during a test flight at the company’s Texas facility.
The incident occurred as the Starship SN11 prototype was attempting to land after what the company called a normal ascent to roughly 12 kilometers in altitude.
Heavy fog obscured observers from seeing exactly what happened, but an explosion seems most likely, as there were reports of fire and debris.
“At least the crater is in the right place!” Musk tweeted.
This is the third time the experimental rocket has crash-landed or exploded.
John Insprucker, a SpaceX engineer, said all was going well when data feeds and the on-board cameras stopped working as the vehicle entered a thick layer of fog while trying to land.
The company said it will provide more information as it gets it but added it does not expect to be able to recover video footage.
Starship SN11 is the vehicle Musk hopes will carry the first humans to Mars.
The company wants to send it into orbit by the end of the year. NASA has also awarded SpaceX a $135 million contract to potentially use the Starship SN11 to take astronauts to the moon.