SpaceX launched its mega rocket Starship on Saturday, but lost the booster and then the spacecraft minutes into the test flight.
The booster had sent the rocketship toward space, but communication was lost eight minutes after liftoff from South Texas and SpaceX declared that the vehicle had failed.
The trouble cropped up as the ship’s engines were almost done firing to put it on an around-the-world path.
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Minutes earlier, the booster exploded, but not until its job was done, putting the ship on a course toward space.
The 121-metre Starship rocket thundered into the sky and arced out over the Gulf of Mexico. The goal was to separate the spaceship from its booster and send it into space.
SpaceX aimed for an altitude of 240 kilometres, just high enough to send the bullet-shaped spacecraft around the globe before ditching into the Pacific near Hawaii about 90 minutes after liftoff, short of a full orbit.
Starship is the biggest and most powerful rocket ever built. Its first flight in April lasted four minutes, exploding soon after liftoff, with the wreckage crashing into the gulf.
Since then, Elon Musk’s company has made dozens of improvements to the booster and its 33 engines as well as the launch pad.