SpaceX’s Starship SN9 Flies, Explodes into Fireball

Launch occurs at 5:25 in the video. Enjoy!

SpaceX’s Starship SN9 rocket finally flew from Boca Chica in Texas on Tuesday, reaching an altitude of 10 km (6.2 miles) before pancaking into the ground in a gigantic fireball just like its predecessor, Starship SN8, did back in December.

It appeared that one of two rocket engines that were supposed to fire as the rocket reoriented itself for landing failed to ignite. The rocket then plunged into the ground and exploded.

The build up for this flight was longer than usual because the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) did not issue a launch license in time for SM9’s planned flight last week.

The FAA issued the launch license late Monday after resolving safety issues. The agency issued the following statement explaining the circumstances behind issuing the license.

Prior to SN8 test launch in December, SpaceX sought a waiver to exceed the maximum public risk allowed by federal safety regulations. After the FAA denied the request, SpaceX proceeded with the flight. As a result of this non-compliance, FAA required SpaceX to conduct an investigation of the incident. All testing that could affect public safety at Boca Chica launch site was suspended until the investigation was completed and FAA approved company’s corrective actions to protect public safety.  The corrective actions arising from the SN8 incident are incorporated into the SN9 launch license.

SpaceX has already rolled out the doomed rocket’s successor, SN10 rocket.