SpaceX successfully launched its next-generation Starship rocket on Wednesday in its first-ever high-altitude test. The landing, however, wasn't so great. Powered by three Raptor engines, the uncrewed Starship SN8 prototype soared into the sky from the SpaceX test facility in Boca Chica, Texas, late in the afternoon Eastern Time. As planned, the vehicle reached an altitude of around 40,000 feet before its engines cut out so that it could begin its descent. After performing an intended "landing flip" maneuver in midair, the rocket's engines fired up again to slow its descent as it came in to land back at the launch site just over six minutes after liftoff. But its speed of descent was too fast, and the prototype exploded in a fireball as it hit the ground harder than expected. No one at the facility was hurt. Despite the prototype's unfortunate ending, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk was clearly delighted with the effort, tweeting: "We got all the data we needed!" adding, "Congrats SpaceX team hell yeah!" Explaining why the vehicle had crashed and burned, Musk tweeted : "Fuel header tank pressure was low during landing burn, causing touchdown velocity to be high & RUD [rapid unscheduled disassembly]." Once the… Read full this story
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