Footage from NASA has showed the moment one of SpaceX’s Starship prototype rockets dramatically exploded into a fireball. The huge rocket, which is designed to carry humans and 100 tons of cargo to moon and Mars, was undergoing tests when the explosion took place. The spectacular explosion comes just hours before a highly-anticipated launch for Elon Musk’s space company, as they launch two NASA astronauts into space.
The explosion completely destroyed the prototype rocket during ground tests at SpaceX’s Boca Chica site on Friday.
NASA’s livestream recorded the explosive moment during tests designed to rush the 394ft metal rocket into flight.
At the time SpaceX was conducting a pressurized test on its Starship rocket at its Texas facility.
After the engine was ignited, the rocket suddenly began smoking and dramatically burst into flames.
The moment one of SpaceX’s Starship prototype rockets dramatically exploded
The Starship is SpaceX’s planned next-generation fully reusable launch vehicle.
The spacecraft sits at the centre of Mr Musk’s plans to make human space travel affordable.
SpaceX was among the three companies awarded a combined $ 1 billion by NASA last month to develop rocket systems capable of ferrying cargo and humans to the moon, after Mr musk proposed the Starship rocket.
The unrelated launch scheduled tomorrow from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center uses a different rocket system, the Falcon 9 with the Crew Dragon capsule fixed on top.
The original Falcon 9 launch was scrubbed on Wednesday due to bad weather.
The mission is set to be the first manned launch from US soil in nine years.
The mission, titled ‘Launch America,’ will send astronauts Robert Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station.
This is the fourth prototype rocket that SpaceX has lost in less than one year.
All of the previous vessels also imploded during testing.
The FAA granted SpaceX a license on Thursday to begin Starship’s first suborbital flight tests.