The US Federal Aviation Authority FAA has launched an investigation into a rocket test by Elon Musk’s space company SpaceX. During last month’s test, an unmanned prototype Starship missile was successfully launched into the air but exploded minutes later when the missile was about to land on the launch pad at Boca Chica, Texas.
The tech site The Verge reports that SpaceX had not adhered to the conditions for which the FAA had granted permission in that test. Both the SpaceX license violation and the explosion prompted the FAA to formally investigate. It is not known which conditions the space company has not complied with.
SpaceX founder and director Musk tweeted after the explosion that the pressure on the fuel tank during the descent was low, causing the landing speed to be too high. He added that SpaceX had collected all the data it wanted to obtain from the test flight and called the launch phase a success.
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The purpose of the test flight was to reach an altitude of about 12 miles, powered for the first time by three of the new Raptor engines developed by SpaceX. It is not known whether the Starship missile reached that height. The rocket, the size of a sixteen-story flat, is designed to carry people and 100 tons of cargo on future missions to Mars and the moon.