SpaceX Starship rocket SN8 explodes after high-altitude test flight

SpaceX launched its latest Starship prototype on a flight test to about 40,000 feet altitude on Wednesday, which appeared successful until the very last moment.Starship prototype Serial Number 8, or SN8, launched smoothly into the sky above SpaceX’s facility in Boca Chica, Texas. The rocket appeared to complete several of the development objectives it was aiming for, including testing its aerodynamics and a flip to prepare itself for landing.But the rocket exploded on impact as it attempted to land, after flying for more than six minutes.Given the multiple milestones SpaceX was looking to achieve with the, CEO Elon Musk had given the rocket low odds of complete success on the first try.”Lot of things need to go right, so maybe 1/3 chance” of the rocket landing in one piece, Musk had said.SpaceX similarly cautioned in statement on its website before the launch that even a crash or explosion was not necessarily a failure for this flight.”With a test such as this, success is not measured by completion of specific objectives but rather how much we can learn, which will inform and improve the probability of success in the future as SpaceX rapidly advances development of Starship,” the company said.This story is developing. Please check back for updates.Subscribe to CNBC PRO for exclusive insights and analysis, and live business day programming from around the world.

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