In pictures: SpaceX’s Starship explodes in spectacular fireball
Take a look at our gallery of amazing images of the inaugural flight of Starship, which proved to be quite an explosive event.
The Starship rocket, the most powerful ever built, has experienced a 'rapid unscheduled disassembly' on its first test flight. The rocket successfully cleared the launch tower and had reached an altitude of over 35km when the first stage booster failed to separate, sending the rocket into a spin. After a few moments the rocket then exploded.
In the build-up to launch, SpaceX had expressed limited ambition for this first test. Their main aim was to clear the launch tower, which was achieved after a very brief interruption during the final countdown. The excitement at SpaceX's Starbase was palpable, and even though the rocket did not complete its mission, there was a lot of celebration on the ground.
It is hoped that all the information gathered on this first flight will ensure that the next test of Starship is more successful.
Starship is the most powerful rocket ever built; twice as powerful as the Saturn V rocket used to take humans to the Moon in 1969, according to SpaceX. It is also fully reusable, making it far cheaper to operate, and allowing a quicker turnaround between missions.
The rocket needs to be powerful in order to transport large payloads of equipment for potential crewed missions to the Moon and Mars as part of NASA's Artemis programme. The success of Starship's future tests therefore represent an important step towards exploring other planets in the next few years.
All go for first launch attempt
Last minute hitch
Attempting to fix the problem
Early morning start for second launch attempt
First stage looks good
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We've had a problem...
Launch pad damaged
James Cutmore is the picture editor of BBC Science Focus Magazine, researching striking images for the magazine and on the website. He is also has a passion for taking his own photographs
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