Shortly after the postponement of SpaceX's plans to send an astronaut crew into space, the company has lost one of its Starship prototypes in an explosion. SpaceX's Starship SN4 prototype exploded shortly after an engine test on Friday at the South Texas test site. When the engine on the test rocket was ignited, a fireball enveloped the area, destroying the prototype and causing damage to the test site.
The news couldn't come at a worse time for the company, as SpaceX was scheduled to take the lead on a launch for NASA that will send astronauts to the International Space Station. Although, it is worth pointing out that mission will take place out of Florida with the Falcon 9 rocket, which SpaceX has successfully flown over 100 times. The failure of the latest prototype has little to no baring on the NASA mission, which Elon Musk said the company had recently redirected most of its resources and priorities to.
In an interview with Aviation Week on May 26, Musk said that the shift on focus to the NASA mission would "slow things down on the Starship front." The prototype that met its end today was part of the company's ongoing tests for the Starship, which Musk said he hopes to use in the future to send people to space and even the Moon or Mars. SpaceX has developed a number of prototypes for the Starship over the past few years. The company has already lost three other test versions in the past, but this one got further along the testing process than the previous attempts.
As of right now it's unclear if there were any injuries in the explosion, and SpaceX has yet to release a statement on the situation. Were the test a success, SpaceX had planned to fly the prototype on a low-attitude test in the near future.
See what Twitter had to say about the explosion below.