SpaceX said in a statement that there were “no injuries, nor is this a serious setback.”
“The purpose of today’s test was to pressurize systems to the max, so the outcome was not completely unexpected,” the statement reads.
SpaceX representatives often reiterate after something goes wrong during testing that the company doesn’t consider such incidences failures. Musk has said that expecting -— even embracing — failures during testing has helped propel SpaceX to its crowning achievements.
But Wednesday’s incident could mean that SpaceX will already abandon the Starship Mark-1 prototype, which Musk showed off two months ago in a grand unveiling. He said in a tweet that engineers have already turned their focus to a newer test vehicle design, dubbed Mark-3.
One other Starship prototype is also under development in Florida, and they’re all part of SpaceX’s quest to create a spaceship that can launch massive satellite, take cargo to the Moon and, eventually, establish a human colony on Mars.
Musk has talked about building such a rocket for years. And SpaceX began putting significant time and resources into Starship’s development early this year.
In its statement, SpaceX said its plans have since changed. Before Mark-1 erupted on Wednesday, the testing team had already decided not to try to fly the vehicle and instead was focused on building the next version, called Mark-3.
That vehicle will be designed to reach orbit, which requires speeds topping 17,000 mph.