SpaceX's Starship SN9 rocket prototype had a successful launch yesterday in Boca Chica, Texas, reaching an altitude of about 6 miles. But, like the Startship prototype in December, its landing ended with an explosion.
The Starship SN9 that blew up on its final descent, like the SN8 before it, was a test model of 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.
…The trouble came when the Starship, after flipping its nose upward again to begin its landing sequence, tried to reactivate two of its three Raptor thrusters, but one failed to ignite. The rocket then fell rapidly to the ground, exploding in a roaring ball of flames, smoke and debris – 6 minutes and 26 seconds after launch.
The Starship SN8, the first prototype to fly in a high-altitude test launch, met a similar fate in December. No injuries occurred in either incident.