South Padre Island, Texas: SpaceX’s massive new rocket crashed into the Gulf of Mexico minutes after it exploded on its first test flight.
Elon Musk’s company intends to travel around the world on a nearly 120-meter-long Starship rocket from the southern tip of Texas near the Mexican border. It has no people or satellites.
Images showed multiple engines not working as the 33-engine rocket climbed from the launch pad to an altitude of 39 kilometers.
The flight plan called for the booster to be stripped from the spacecraft minutes after liftoff, but that didn’t happen. On Thursday (US time), the rocket began to roll before exploding four minutes into the flight, crashing into the bay.
After separation, the spacecraft was supposed to continue eastward and attempt to circle the Earth before crashing into the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii.
Crowds of spectators watched from South Padre Island, miles from the off-limits Boca Chica beach launch site. As it lifted off, the crowd screamed, “Go baby, go!”
In a tweet, Musk called it “Exciting test launch for Starship! Learned a lot for the next test launch in a few months.”
In the weeks leading up to the flight, Musk gave a 50-50 chance of the spacecraft reaching orbit.