SpaceX's futuristic Starship appeared to finally ace a touchdown today after two previous tries ended in massive fireballs.
The full-scale prototype soared more than 10 kilometres after lifting off from the southern tip of Texas. It descended horizontally over the Gulf of Mexico and then flipped upright just in time to land, then the official livestream ended.
Seconds later, the prototype appeared to be steadying itself as planned, before a large explosion tore it apart.
The massive blast came just after SpaceX commentator John Insprucker declared "third time's a charm as the saying goes."
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"We've had a successful soft touchdown on the landing pad," he added.
See "successful" landing below:
SpaceX founder Elon Musk plans to use Starships to send people to the moon and Mars.
The last two prototypes reached a similarly high altitude in December and February, but slammed into the ground at Boca Chica, Texas, and exploded. There's another test flight planned soon.
Each of these last three test flights lasted 6 1/2 minutes.
- AP, Additional reporting from NZ Herald