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SpaceX’s Starship prototype rocket blows its top

Clouds of vapor erupt from SpaceX’s Starship Mk1 prototype rocket in Texas. (LabPadre via YouTube)

SpaceX’s prototype for a Starship meant for trips to the moon and Mars suffered an eruption today on its South Texas launch pad, putting a dent in SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s ambitious schedule for flight tests.

Clouds of vapor issued explosively from the 165-foot-tall rocket’s top during a pressurization test, apparently because of a rupture in one of the craft’s cryogenic propellant tanks. The Starship Mk1’s top bulkhead was blown away by the blast.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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