The latest flight of a prototype of SpaceX’s Starship rocket ended abruptly on Tuesday (March 30) minutes after successfully launching in a high-altitude experimental test from Boca Chica, Texas. It was the fourth such attempt that ended in apparent failure.
“Starship 11 is not coming back. Don’t wait for the landing. We do appear to have lost all the data from the vehicle,” a Spacex commentator was heard saying over the frozen video feed mid-flight less than 6 minutes into the launch.
The Starship SN11 was a test model heavy-lift rocket developed by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk’s private space company to carry humans and 100 tons of cargo on future missions to the moon and Mars.
Similar test flights of the the Starship SN9 and SN10 in February and early March ended with fiery explosions, one during the rocket’s final descent and another shortly after a successful touch down in a vertical position.
The Starship rocket is the company’s next-generation fully reusable launch vehicle – the center of Musk’s ambitions to make human space travel more affordable and routine.
The latest test mishap comes as the House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee said on Monday (March 29) that it is investigating a SpaceX commercial space launch in December that regulators determined violated U.S. safety requirements and its test license.
(Production: Mana Rabiee)