The latest high-altitude test flight of a SpaceX Starship prototype has been canceled at the extreme last moment before launch, with the engines’ fiery ignition suddenly extinguished just as the countdown clock hit zero.
The test vehicle, Starship serial number 10 (SN10), was set to lift off when the computer aborted the launch. SN10 has been left on the launch pad at Cameron County, Texas, as the SpaceX team evaluates whether it’s possible to reset the systems and attempt another launch during the available test window.
The Starship’s two previous prototypes – SN8 and SN9 – both met with fiery ends during their test flights while attempting vertical landings.
It’s not clear what caused the computer to suddenly pull Wednesday’s launch of SN10, but the craft was due to ascend some 10 kilometers before reorienting itself to land back down on Earth “under active aerodynamic control,” according to SpaceX.
The controlled vertical landing capability “will enable a fully reusable transportation system designed to carry both crew and cargo on long-duration, interplanetary flights and help humanity return to the Moon, and travel to Mars and beyond,” the private aerospace company said.
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