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SpaceX Starship prototype explodes during test in Texas

The partial rocket named "SN1" literally buckled under pressure.

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SpaceX assembled the shiny pieces of its planned Starship orbital prototype in late 2019. This wasn't a launch-ready version, but it shows what the spacecraft will likely look like when it's finally ready for testing.

SpaceX

Getting to space is hard, and SpaceX is working through some kinks early in the process of developing its next-generation Starship that it hopes will eventually take legions of humans to Mars.

Video from sources with a view of the company's Boca Chica, Texas, development facility showed Starship prototype "SN1" apparently exploding during a pressure test Friday.

NASASpaceflight reported that the partial rocket failed during a cryogenic pressure test after one of its tanks filled with liquid nitrogen.

An earlier, more basic prototype dubbed "Mk1" popped its top during a pressurization test at Boca Chica last year.

This latest anomaly -- as explosions tend to be called in the space business -- appears to be doing little to set back Starship's development. Elon Musk showed off the company's stockpile of nose cones at Boca Chica last month, and prototype SN2 continued to come together on one side of the site this weekend, even as the remains of SN1 were being cleaned up nearby.

SpaceX didn't immediately return a request for comment.

The company is still working toward the next test flight of Starship in the coming months, which will aim to send it to serious altitude for the first time, up to about 12.4 miles (20 km).

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