The latest SpaceX prototype of its Starship rocket was destroyed during a landing attempt after a clean launch on Tuesday.
The company’s livestream of the flight test froze as the rocket came in to land, and thick fog around SpaceX’s facility in Texas made it difficult for witnesses to see what happened.
Starship prototype Serial Number 11, or SN11, reached its target altitude of about 10 kilometers, or about 32,800 feet. The rocket is built of stainless steel, representing the early versions of the rocket unveiled in 2019. Elon Musk’s company is developing Starship with the goal of launching cargo and people on missions to the moon and Mars.
Musk tweeted about half an hour after the test that “at least the crater is in the right place!”
“Something significant happened shortly after landing burn start. Should know what it was once we can examine the bits later today,” Musk said.
SpaceX principal integration engineer John Insprucker noted that the thick fog in the area prevented the company from showing camera views beyond those that were on the rocket itself.
“The frozen view we saw in the camera doesn’t mean that were were waiting for the signal to come back; Starship 11 is not coming back. Don’t wait for the landing,” Insprucker said. “We do appear to have lost all the data from the vehicle and the team of course is away from the landing pad, so we’ll be out there seeing what we had.”