It was tipped to begin test flights by the end of 2019, but SpaceX's Starship rocket has suffered a huge setback after a catastrophic test.
The monster spacecraft exploded partially during a ground test in Boca Chica, Texas – and it was all captured on camera by local space enthusiasts.
The failed test saw the top of the rocket blow off and sent gases into the air.
Fortunately, the rocket was unmanned during the test, and no – One person was injured.
In a speech to The Verge, a spokesman for SpaceX said: "The purpose of today's test was to push systems to the maximum, so the outcome was not entirely unexpected.
" There were no injuries, nor is this a serious setbacks. "
Starship is SpaceX's huge spacecraft designed to carry cargo and humans into deep space in the future.
Back in September, Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, claimed that low altitude test flights could begin over the next few months, while Starship could reach orbit within six months.
However, the failed test casts doubt on these ambitious timelines. 19659014] When the ship was deployed, it will be the world's most powerful launch vehicle, according to SpaceX
While Musk has not commented on the failed test, in a response to tweeting about it, he confirmed that SpaceX is now focusing its efforts on a new prototype for Starship, called the MK-3.
He said: “[Mk-1] had some value as a production finder, but aircraft design is quite different. "
Starship, when deployed, will be the world's most powerful launch vehicle, according to SpaceX.
On its website it explained: "Starship will be the world's most powerful launch car ever developed, with the ability to carry over 100 tonnes to Earth in orbit.
"Drawing on a comprehensive history of vehicles and engine development programs, SpaceX has quickly iterated with the design of Starship with orbital-flight targeted for 2020. ”
The rocket measures a full 50 meters in height and nine meters in diameter, and is fully reusable.
It is equipped with a Raptor engine – a full-flow, staged combustion engine powered by cryogenic methane and liquid oxygen (LOX), instead of RP-1 paraffin and LOX used in SpaceX's former Merlin engine family.