NATIONWIDE —It wasn't quite the flawless finale rocket scientists at SpaceX were hoping for: During a flight test of the company's Starship, it blew up right at touchdown.
What You Need To Know
- No one was on board during the test
- Elon Musk explains why it exploded
- Get more space coverage here
No one was on board during the test and SpaceX is not walking away completely disappointed from a landing pad along the Texas Gulf Coast.
The company's 9-story Starship rocket soared to 40,000 feet before attempting to land. The ship managed to arrive on its landing target, but it blew up in a fiery explosion.
Company founder Elon Musk says he knew this experiment flight only had a one in three chance of landing intact and he explained what went wrong. But, he was happy with the data collected in order to prepare the ship for the future.
"Fuel header tank pressure was low during landing burn, causing touchdown velocity to be high & RUD, but we got all the data we needed! Congrats SpaceX team hell yeah!!," the eccentric entrepreneur tweeted.
"RUD" stands for "Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly"
Fuel header tank pressure was low during landing burn, causing touchdown velocity to be high & RUD, but we got all the data we needed! Congrats SpaceX team hell yeah!!— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 9, 2020
It's not the first time the Starship has stirred up fanfare with its unintentional fireworks. The top portion of the next-generation rocket exploded in November during a ground test at SpaceX's Boca Chica facility.
One of the Starship's production facilities is located in Cocoa Florida. Elon Musk paid a visit back in August.
Starship is ultimately designed to break free of Earth's orbit on trips to the moon and eventually Mars.
Musk hopes Starship will eventually be used for hauling satellites into orbit and he's calling it the "gateway to Mars."