SpaceX said on Thursday it triggered termination command after its giant Starship rocket lost control during an inaugural test flight.
The rocket, the most powerful ever built, got off the launch pad at 8:33 a.m. Central Time Thursday from SpaceX's Starbase in Boca Chica, U.S. state of Texas. It exploded minutes after liftoff.
The vehicle experienced multiple engines out during the test flight, lost altitude, and began to tumble, said SpaceX. The flight termination system was commanded on both the booster and the spacecraft.
Before the explosion, Starship climbed to an apogee of about 39 kilometers over the Gulf of Mexico, the highest of any Starship to date, according to SpaceX.
"As is standard procedure, the pad and surrounding area was cleared well in advance of the test, and we expect the road and beach near the pad to remain closed until tomorrow," said SpaceX.
The uncrewed spacecraft was scheduled to have a 90-minute trip around the Earth before a splashdown near Hawaii.
The launch was the first test flight of SpaceX's fully integrated Starship and Super Heavy rocket. Starship experienced a "rapid unscheduled disassembly" before stage separation, according to SpaceX.