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SpaceX Starship SN11 rocket fails to land safely after test launch

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An unequipped SpaceX Starship prototype rocket failed to land safely on Tuesday after a test launch from Boca Chica, Texas, and engineers were investigating, SpaceX said.

“It looks like we’ve lost all of the vehicle’s data,” SpaceX engineer John Insprucker said in a webcast video of the rocket flight test. “We’re going to have to find out from the team what happened.”

The view of the webcast was obscured by fog, making it difficult to see the vehicle landing. Debris from the spacecraft was found scattered eight kilometers from its landing site.

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The Starship was one of a series of prototypes for the heavy rocket developed by the private space company of billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk to transport humans and 100 tonnes of cargo on future missions to the Moon and Mars.

The Complete Starship rocket, which will measure 120 meters tall with its included super-heavy first stage booster, is SpaceX’s next-generation fully reusable launch vehicle – the center of Musk’s ambitions to make human travel more affordable and routine. . .

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A first Starship orbital flight is scheduled for the end of the year. Musk, who also heads electric car maker Tesla, has said he intends to fly Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa around the moon in the Starship in 2023.

The SN8 and SN9 ships have already exploded during their landing during their tests. SN10 made a vertical landing earlier this month, but then ignited about eight minutes after the touchdown.

“Looks like Engine 2 had some issues on the ascent and didn’t reach operating chamber pressure on landing, but in theory it wasn’t necessary,” tweeted Musk Tuesday, after the SN11 test flight. “Something big happened shortly after the landing burn started. I should know what it was once we can look at the pieces later today.”

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© Thomson Reuters 2021

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