Elon Musk's SpaceX launched the latest prototype of the company’s next-generation Starship vehicle from Texas.
The 50m-tall uncrewed rocket codenamed SN8 lifted off of the Boca Chica R&D facility to 12.5 km and flew to its highest altitude yet.
Even though the vehicle crashed on touchdown, Elon Musk was still delighted as the Starship prototype has made a big impact for everyone, and the entrepreneur warned his fans that something could go wrong before the launch. This test was supposed to show if Starship could perform a controlled flight and if the three main Raptor engines worked adequately.
Elon Musk believes that Starship is the future for SpaceX once it’s fully developed. It is aimed to launch people as well as cargo into orbit and maybe even travel to Mars and the Moon in the future.
The Boca China facility has developed a bunch of prototypes of varying degrees of complexity to then test each iteration until it fails. The latest Starship launch was the first attempt of a high-altitude suborbital flight.
The idea of this short flight was to demonstrate a belly-facing re-entry to Earth’s atmosphere, including some maneuvers like a flip back before touchdown. And the flip back part failed as Starship started landing on the pad too quickly and exploded.
This is how Elon Musk explained the cause of it on Twitter:
However, there are already other Starship prototypes at Boca Chica, so we might as well see other launched soon.
Elon Musk has already stated that Starship is his number-one priority as it can transform the spaceflight economics. The thing is that the vehicle can lift more than 100 tons of cargo into the low-Earth orbit, which can include people, satellites, and even hardware. This can help build stations on the Moon and Mars in the future.