WASHINGTON | A prototype rocket from the American aerospace company SpaceX crashed on Tuesday on landing during a test flight in Texas, according to images released by the company.
Another prototype of the future Starship rocket had suffered the same fate in December. He had managed to take off before crashing into a large ball of fire.
“We still had an excellent flight,” said a SpaceX specialist commenting on the test flight, broadcast live.
“We just need to work a bit on the landing,” he added.
The whimsical billionaire Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX, did not comment on the event on social networks. He had announced earlier in the morning his decision to step away from Twitter for a while. His account has nearly 45 million subscribers.
After a standoff with the US Federal Aviation Administration, the Starship SN9 prototype was cleared to fly on Tuesday.
The machine took off at 3.30 p.m. local time to reach an altitude of 10 kilometers. He then turned off his engines and performed a series of horizontal maneuvers. It was when the rocket tried to regain an upright position that it crashed.
These tests are taking place in a near-deserted area leased by SpaceX in Boca Chica, Cameron County, in the far south of Texas near the Mexican border on the edge of the Gulf of Mexico – an area empty enough for ‘an accident or explosion does not cause damage or cause victims.
SpaceX wants to make Starship its rocket of choice to go to Mars one day.