A spectator holds a piece of debris which was blown 5 miles (8 km) from the site where SpaceX test rocket SN11 exploded upon landing, in Boca Chica, Texas, on March 30, 2021. (Gene Blevins/Reuters)
An uncrewed SpaceX Starship prototype rocket failed to land safely on Tuesday after a test launch from Boca Chica, Texas, and engineers were investigating, SpaceX said.
“We do appear to have lost all the data from the vehicle,” SpaceX engineer John Insprucker said in a webcast video of the rocket’s flight test. “We’re going to have to find out from the team what happened.”
The webcast view was obscured by fog, making it difficult to see the vehicle’s landing.
The Starship was one in a series of prototypes for the heavy-lift rocket being developed by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk’s private space company to carry humans and 100 tons of cargo on future missions to the moon and Mars.
Starships SN8 and SN9 previously exploded upon landing during their test runs.
“Looks like engine 2 had issues on ascent & didn’t reach operating chamber pressure during landing burn, but, in theory, it wasn’t needed,” Musk tweeted on Tuesday, after SN11’s test flight. “Something significant happened shortly after landing burn starts. Should know what it was once we can examine the bits later today.”