SpaceX's Starship SN10 Rocket Launches and Lands Successfully Before Exploding

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The SpaceX team was testing the rockets propulsion, steering and landing systems, the SpaceX webcast said.

The SpaceX Starship prototype, SN10, launched on Wednesday, climbing an altitude of six miles and dancing in the air, tipping and flipping as it made its way back to Earth before exploding into a giant red fireball. 

The stunning performance that took place in Southern Texas may have looked as if something went very wrong, but what the SpaceX team was seeing was that something went very right. 

The team was testing the rocket's propulsion, steering and landing systems, according to the SpaceX webcast.

"We've had a successful soft touchdown on the landing pad, capping a beautiful test flight of Starship 10," SpaceX commentator John Insprucker said, CBS News reported

He added: ”As a reminder, a key point of today's test flight was to gather the data on controlling the vehicle while reentering, and we were successful in doing so.”

This was the Starship’s third high-altitude test flight and its first successful landing. As with the two most recent test flights of Starships, SN10 was a prototype of the Starship second stage, CBS reported. 

Moments before SpaceX wrapped up its launch webcast and before the rocket exploded, Insprucker said, ”third time's the charm, as the saying goes."

Seems so, according to SpaceX founder Elon Musk, who is working on developing a fully reusable heavy-lift rocket.

“SpaceX team is doing great work! One day, the true measure of success will be that Starship flights are commonplace,” Musk tweeted.

At least three versions of the Starship are envisioned: one for carrying heavy payloads to Earth orbit, the moon, or Mars; one designed to carry propellants for orbital refueling operations; and one capable of carrying up to 100 passengers at a time, CBS reported.