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Watch: SpaceX flight ends with massive fiery explosion

In a tweet, CEO Elon Musk noted, "we got all the data we needed!"

Updated: December 9, 2020 - 10:06pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

A flight on Wednesday finished with a large fiery explosion when SpaceX's Starship burst into flames.

Video of the incident shows the dramatic explosion that occurred after what had been a successful flight in which the craft arrived at the landing point, but descended too fast during the landing.

"On Wednesday, December 9, Starship serial number 8 (SN8) lifted off from our Cameron County launch pad and successfully ascended, transitioned propellant, and performed its landing flip maneuver with precise flap control to reach its landing point," according to SpaceX. "Low pressure in the fuel header tank during the landing burn led to high touchdown velocity resulting in a hard (and exciting!) landing."

In a tweet, CEO Elon Musk noted, "we got all the data we needed!"

This version of the craft was outfitted with three engines. 

"Two lower, shorter SpaceX test flights earlier this year from Boca Chica, Texas — a quiet coastal village before SpaceX moved in — used more rudimentary versions of Starship," the Associated Press noted. "Essentially cylindrical cans and single Raptor engines, these early vehicles reached altitudes of 490 feet (150 meters). An even earlier model, the short and squat Starhopper, made a tiny tethered hop in 2019, followed by two increasingly higher climbs."

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