WASHINGTON: Third time’s a charm? Not so for SpaceX, whose unmanned rocket exploded on the ground Wednesday after carrying out what had seemed to be a successful flight and landing — fresh on the heels of two fiery crashes.
It was yet another flub involving a prototype of the Starship rocket, which SpaceX hopes one day to send to Mars. “A beautiful soft landing,” a SpaceX commentator said on a live broadcast of the test flight, although flames were coming out at the bottom and crews were trying to put them out.
The rocket exploded a few minutes later, lurching into the air and crashing back to the ground.
“As if the flight test was not exciting enough, SN10 experienced a rapid unscheduled disassembly shortly after landing,” SpaceX joked on its website, without giving an explanation for the explosion.
“All in all a great day for the Starship teams,” it said, adding that test flights helped with the development of a reusable transport system to carry crew and cargo on interplanetary flights, to the Moon, Mars and beyond.