Two months after the previous test of its futuristic Starship ended in an explosive crash, SpaceX's second full test flight ended in another crash landing on Tuesday.
The full-scale stainless steel rocket climbed to its intended altitude of 6.2 miles (10 km), a bit lower than the last one. Everything seemed geared for a successful conclusion as the 160ft (50 m) Starship flipped on its side and began its descent. However, it did not manage to straighten itself back up in time for a landing and crashed into the ground.
“We’ve just got to work on that landing a little,” said SpaceX launch commentator John Insprucker. “Reminder – this is a test flight.”
The test lasted six and a half minutes, with the next Starship lying in wait at the nearby launch site in Boca Chica, Texas.
Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX's stated dream is to transport people to Mars, in as little as several years from now. This is 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.
Planned All-civilian Space Flight
The launch was planned for last week, but SpaceX failed to get the necessary approval from the Federal Aviation Administration.
SpaceX is set to host its first all-civilian space flight later this year. The event is also planned as a fundraising opportunity for St Jude's Children's Research Hospital, with plans to generate $200 million dollars for cancer research and other causes. Half of this amount is to be provided by the convener of the planned event, Jared Isaacman.
Isaacman, the billionaire businessman who will finance and pilot the multi-day mission for himself and three others, will drive the publicity push, with the help of a Super Bowl commercial next weekend. Until the end of February, anyone 18 or older can go to St Jude’s website to enter for a chance to win a seat onboard.