SpaceX has lost contact with its Starship mega rocket following an explosion during its second test flight from south Texas.
The two-stage 397ft rocket – the largest and most powerful ever built – arced out over the Gulf of Mexico after blasting off from the Elon Musk-owned company’s launch site near Boca Chica, with SpaceX aiming to separate the spaceship from its booster and send it into space.
It was aiming for an altitude of 150 miles – just high enough for the spacecraft to travel around the globe before aiming to ditch into the Pacific near Hawaii 90 minutes after lift-off.
But eight minutes into the flight, the company announced on its livestream that it had lost contact with the booster and was assuming the rocket had failed.
The Starship’s first flight, in April, lasted just four minutes before an explosion sent the wreckage crashing into the gulf.
Since then, SpaceX had made dozens of improvements to the booster and its 33 engines, as well as the launch pad.
The rocket is a critical part of NASA’s ambitions to return to the moon.
Mr Musk has also said that Starship could also be used for missions to Mars.