CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — The landing of a SpaceX Starship prototype rocket appeared to be textbook when it touched down in Texas on March 3, but then it exploded on the landing pad.
The failure occurred just minutes after SpaceX declared success. Two previous test flights crash-landed in fireballs.READ MORE: Decades Later, Family Gets Apology From Dallas Police Over Death Of 12-Year-Old Santos Rodriguez
The full-scale prototype of Elon Musk’s envisioned Mars ship soared more than 6 miles after lifting off from the southern tip of Texas on Wednesday. It descended horizontally over the Gulf of Mexico and then flipped upright just in time to land.
Oof. SN10 has decided to join SN8 and SN9.
Still a great advancement with the landing.
— Chris B – NSF (@NASASpaceflight) March 3, 2021
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The shiny bullet-shaped rocketship remained intact this time at touchdown, prompting SpaceX commentator John Insprucker to declare, “third time’s a charm as the saying goes” before SpaceX ended its webcast of the test.
But then the Starship called serial No. 10, or SN10 exploded and was tossed in the air, before slamming down into the ground in flames.
There was no immediate comment from SpaceX on what went wrong. But Musk looked on the bright side in a tweet: “Starship 10 landed in one piece! RIP SN10, honorable discharge.”
He added: “SpaceX team is doing great work! One day, the true measure of success will be that Starship flights are commonplace.”
Musk plans to use Starships to send people to the moon and Mars.
The last two prototypes reached a similarly high altitude in December and February, but slammed into the ground at Boca Chica, Texas, and exploded.
Each of these last three test flights lasted 6 1/2 minutes.MORE NEWS: 1 Dead, 1 Injured In Shooting Involving Fight In Irving, Police Say
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)