Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

SpaceX Starship Rocket Explodes During Reentry

By Lou Whiteman - Updated Mar 30, 2021 at 10:44AM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

The company also learned a Justice Department probe into its hiring practices will continue.

On Tuesday, a SpaceX Starship prototype exploded while attempting to land, the fourth consecutive test launch to end up in flames in recent months.

SpaceX launched the SN11 prototype from its Boca Chica, Texas, facility for a high-altitude test, with a goal of having the spacecraft execute a "belly flop" maneuver in space before returning to Earth in a controlled vertical soft landing. Elon Musk's space company is developing Starship as its heavy launch vehicle that the company hopes will eventually travel to the Moon and beyond.

File photo of a rocket blast off.

Image source: Getty Images.

While all four launches have gone off without a hitch, the company continues to have issues nailing the landing. SpaceX's live stream froze as the SN11 was coming in for a landing, but reports from the scene indicate there was a large explosion that scattered debris around the area.

In a tweet, Musk said one of the engines appeared to have issues on ascent, and that "something significant happened" shortly after the engines fired for landing. He said SpaceX hopes to learn more as it examines the wreckage.

Space, by its nature, involves a lot of trial and error, and SpaceX has said it will likely need to run through 20 prototypes before Starship is fully developed. Still, the setbacks are high-profile disappointments for a company with grand ambitions and in constant need of new funding.

SpaceX was also dealt a setback on Earth, as a judge ruled it should be forced to comply with a Department of Justice subpoena as part of a probe into whether the company has illegally discriminated against foreign job applicants. The judge rejected SpaceX's arguments that the subpoena constituted government overreach.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning service.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 05/17/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.