SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas (AP) — SpaceX’s giant new rocket blasted off on its first test flight Thursday but failed minutes after rising from the launch pad.
Elon Musk’s company was aiming to send the nearly 400-foot (120-meter) Starship rocket on a round-the-world trip from the southern tip of Texas, near the Mexican border. It carried no people or satellites; both the booster and spacecraft on top were to be ditched into the sea.
Throngs of spectators watched from South Padre Island, several miles away from the Boca Chica Beach launch site, which was off limits. Space’s first try to launch the rocket was called off Monday because of a stuck valve in the rocket during fueling.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.
SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas (AP) — SpaceX’s new rocket, the biggest and most powerful ever built, blasted off Thursday on its first test flight, thundering into the South Texas sky in an attempt to orbit the world.
Elon Musk’s company launched the nearly 400-foot (120-meter) Starship rocket from the southern tip of Texas, near the Mexican border. The plan called for the booster to peel away and plummet into the Gulf of Mexico shortly after liftoff, with the spacecraft hurtling ever higher toward the east in a bid to circle the world, before crashing into the Pacific near Hawaii.
No people or satellites were aboard for this debut launch.
Throngs of spectators watched from several miles away from the Boca Chica Beach launch site, which was off-limits.
The company plans to use Starship to send people and cargo to the moon and, eventually, Mars. NASA has reserved a Starship for its next moonwalking team, and rich tourists are already booking lunar flybys.
It was the second launch attempt. Monday’s try was scrapped by a frozen booster valve.