SpaceX launches its giant new rocket, but a pair of explosions ends its second test flight

SpaceX launched its Starship mega rocket on Saturday, but lost the booster and then the spacecraft minutes into the test flight.

A booster sent the rocket ship into space, but communication was lost eight minutes after liftoff from South Texas, and SpaceX announced that the vehicle had crashed.

Trouble ensued as the ship's engines nearly fired to send it around the world. Moments earlier, the booster had exploded, but not before its work was done, setting the ship on a course for space.

At 400 feet, the Starship is the largest and most powerful rocket ever built.

The first test flight in April ended in an explosion shortly after takeoff.

This is a news update. An earlier AP story follows.

SpaceX's giant new rocket exploded during a test flight from South Texas on Saturday, seven months after the first test ended in an explosion.

The 397-foot (121-meter) starship rocket thundered through the sky and into the Gulf of Mexico. The goal was to separate the spacecraft from the booster and send it into space.

SpaceX aimed for an altitude of 150 miles (240 kilometers), high enough to send the bullet-shaped spacecraft around the world before touching down in the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii about 1 1/2 hours after liftoff, short of a full orbit.

Starship is the largest and most powerful rocket ever built. Its maiden flight in April lasted four minutes, with debris falling into the Gulf. Since then, Elon Musk's company has made dozens of improvements to the booster and its 33 motors, as well as the launch pad.


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