SpaceX’s test flight to Mars canceled at last second

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SpaceX test flight
SpaceX's test flight to Mars canceled at last second

The first high-altitude test flight of SpaceX’s futuristic Starship was aborted. SpaceX came close to launching a rocket concept engineered by the company’s President Elon Musk to send people to Mars.

The first high-altitude test flight of SpaceX’s futuristic Spaceship was aborted in the last second in Texas on Tuesday.

SpaceX came close to launching a rocket concept designed by the company’s President Elon Musk to send people to Mars. The target was to fire the Starship at an altitude of eight miles (12.5 kilometers)—the highest yet—and then bring it down to a vertical landing.

But the automatic engine failed, with just 1.3 seconds left in the countdown. SpaceX confirmed on its webcast that it had been done for the day, and there was no news on whether it could try again.

SpaceX had only carried out five Starship test flights, but these older, simplified versions were no more than 490 feet (150 metres) tall. The stainless steel prototype on Tuesday’s launch pad was the first to feature a nose cone, body flaps and three Raptor engines.

SpaceX took over Boca Chica in the extreme southeast corner of Texas, along the Mexican border, to develop and prototype its Starships. The corporation plans to use Starships—the upper stage of Super Heavy boosters—to deliver large spacecraft to orbit around Earth, and to bring people and cargo to the Moon and Mars.