Elon Musk’s SpaceX’s Starship exploded into a ball of fire on 4/20 during its second failed orbital launch in a week.
The world’s largest and most powerful rocket – which was unmanned – lifted off in South Texas and successfully cleared the launchpad, its first milestone.
But the craft was sent into a tailspin when the rocket failed to separate over the Gulf of Mexico. The mission ended at around four minutes when the failure sent the craft crashing toward Earth, imploding mid-descent.
Despite the craft going up in flames, the team at SpaceX reportedly cracked out champagne bottles and chanted ‘go Starship’ after the explosion.
The company’s leadership – including Musk – has repeatedly stressed the experimental nature of the launch and said any result that involved Starship getting off the launchpad would be a success.
The mission was always due to end with the destruction of the Starship rocket, which was supposed to orbit the earth for about an hour before crashing into the Pacific.
But any setbacks will still be hugely expensive. Musk has said the entire program will cost anywhere from $3 billion to $10 billion.
But Musk himself was braced for a failed launch, claiming last month that there was a 50 percent chance his spacecraft could explode during the test flight.
The billionaire congratulated the SpaceX team on Twitter about 20 minutes after the craft went up in flames.
Musk tweeted: ‘Congrats @SpaceX team on an exciting test launch of Starship! Learned a lot for next test launch in a few months.’
SpaceX then shared on Twitter that its team will review data and work toward another flight for the rocket.
‘As if the flight test was not exciting enough, Starship experienced a rapid unscheduled disassembly before stage separation,’ SpaceX tweeted.
‘With a test like this, success comes from what we learn, and today’s test will help us improve Starship’s reliability as SpaceX seeks to make life multi-planetary.’