NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine answers a question during a countdown clock briefing for the SpaceX Demo-2 mission at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Picture: David J. Phillip/AP
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine answers a question during a countdown clock briefing for the SpaceX Demo-2 mission at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Picture: David J. Phillip/AP

New SpaceX Starship rocket prototype explodes on Texas test pad

By Joey Roulette Time of article published May 29, 2020

Share this article:

A prototype of SpaceX's upcoming

heavy-lift rocket, Starship, exploded on Friday during ground

tests in south Texas as Elon Musk's space company pursued an

aggressive development schedule to fly the launch vehicle for

the first time.

The testing explosion was unrelated to SpaceX's upcoming

launch of two NASA astronauts from Florida's Kennedy Space

Center using a different rocket system, the Falcon 9 with the

Crew Dragon capsule fixed on top.

A prototype vanished in an explosive fireball at SpaceX's

Boca Chica test site on Friday, as seen in a livestream recorded

by the website NASA Spaceflight. There was no immediate

indication of injuries. SpaceX did not immediately respond to a

request for comment.

Starship, a rocket standing 394 feet tall, is designed to

carry humans and 100 tons of cargo to the moon and Mars. It is

the space company's planned next-generation fully

reusable launch vehicle, the center of Musk's ambitions to make

human space travel affordable.

The south Texas facility sits beside a small neighborhood

that SpaceX has been trying to buy up for testing space, but

some residents have pushed back on the company's offers and have

accused Musk's attorneys of unrealistically low property

appraisals.

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. SpaceX proposed Starship

for the award.

The FAA granted the space company a license Thursday to

begin Starship's first suborbital flight tests, though it was

unclear when those tests would occur. 

Reuters

Share this article: