SpaceX was set to launch the Starship SN10 prototype today. The launch was called off at about a minute to take off. It is not clear why the launch was scrubbed.
SpaceX’s second full test flight of its futuristic, bullet-shaped Starship ended in another fiery crash landing in February. Elon Musk’s company launched its latest Starship prototype from the southeastern tip of Texas, three months after the previous test ended in an equally explosive belly flop.
The full-scale stainless steel rocket reached its intended altitude of 6.2 miles (10 kilometers), slightly lower than the last one. Everything seemed to be going well as the 160-foot (50-meter) Starship flipped on its side and began its descent. But it did not manage to straighten itself back up in time for a landing and slammed into the ground.
Musk is developing Starship to carry people to Mars, perhaps in as little as several years. It’s the upper stage of his intended moon- and Mars-ships, meant to launch atop a mega rocket called Super Heavy that is still being developed.
SpaceX did not comply with safety regulations for the Dec. 9 flight, an FAA spokesperson said Tuesday, and needed to take corrective action before proceeding with launch operations. Tuesday’s flight met all safety criteria, according to the FAA.