SpaceX Starship ‘Lost’ After Reaching Space During Third Test Flight

Cheney Orr/Reuters
Cheney Orr/Reuters

SpaceX said Thursday that it had “lost” all contact with its Starship mega rocket as it re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere after successfully reaching orbit.

The enormous 397-foot-tall rocket successfully launched at 9:25 a.m. ET on Thursday morning from a base in Boca Chica, Texas.

And for most of its journey, all was well, as this third test of SpaceX’s Starship model saw the rocket go further into space than previous trials without exploding.

The rocket was expected to land back in the Indian Ocean after an hour, but CNBC reports that the spacecraft broke up in its final moments above the water, failing to splash down.

But SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted to say that the launch had been successful. “Starship reached orbital velocity,” he wrote.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX Rocket Blows Up on Second Test Flight

SpaceX has tested the Starship model twice before. In November, the main booster rocket exploded after 15 minutes in the air. In April, the main booster rocket failed to separate from its heavier booster, and fell back to Earth in a ball of flames.

On Wednesday, the Federal Aviation Administration approved SpaceX to test the rocket again.

The gargantuan rocket is about 10 stories tall and weighs approximately 5,000 metric tons, with Musk claiming it is the “largest flying object ever made.”

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