Elon Musk’s SpaceX continues to test its unmanned Starship, with SN11 launching from a foggy Texas tower this morning. As with other Starship launches, this one ended with the vehicle in pieces. Fog complicated visualizing the stream of events; the launch appeared to go off as planned, but the video feed from SpaceX froze at 5 minutes and 49 seconds as the ship was less than 1 km from landing, and as one of the three Raptor engines had reignited as part of the normal landing sequence. The next instant, ground cameras picked up debris falling to the ground to the sound of a thousand trash cans being dropped off the roof.
On Twitter, Musk said, “Something significant happened shortly after landing burn start. Should know what it was once we can examine the bits later today.” And: “At least the crater is in the right place.”
The flight was delayed because, according to Musk, ”FAA inspector unable to reach Starbase in time for launch today. Postponed to no earlier than tomorrow.” Dense fog at the Boca Chica, Texas, site made it difficult to see what had happened during the final-descent phase.
We’ll update this story as details are released.