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SpaceX's Starship rocket explodes minutes into flight

No humans or satellites were on the test flight.
Posted at 10:11 AM, Apr 20, 2023

SpaceX successfully got its massive Starship rocket off the ground Thursday, but it exploded minutes into its test flight.

The company, run by billionaire Elon Musk, described the explosion as a "rapid unscheduled disassembly before stage separation."

No people or satellites were on the rocket, which was nearly 400 feet tall. 

"With a test like this, success comes from what we learn, and today’s test will help us improve Starship’s reliability as SpaceX seeks to make life multi-planetary," SpaceX said.

The launch, which took place along Texas' Gulf Coast, was briefly delayed on Thursday. The countdown clock was stopped at 40 seconds while crews assessed technical aspects of the rocket. The clock restarted minutes later and the rocket took off.

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Their capsule splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico just off the Florida coast near Tampa.

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It's unclear whether the technical issues that forced the delay contributed to the rocket exploding.

Despite the obvious problem, SpaceX appeared pleased with the progress it has made thus far.

"Congratulations to the entire SpaceX team on an exciting first integrated flight test of Starship," the company stated.

Starship is billed as a "fully reusable transportation system." 

This was SpaceX's second attempt at launching the rocket. A previous scheduled launch was scrubbed earlier this week due to technical issues.

The hope is for it to eventually propel humans to the moon and even Mars.

"Starship will be able to carry up to 100 people on long-duration interplanetary flights," SpaceX says. 

a Starship first-stage Super Heavy booster performs an engine-firing test at the launch pad in Boca Chica, Texas

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Since 2014, SpaceX has made Boca Chica Beach in Brownsville, Texas, home. From there it tests rockets and launches them into space.

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