A prototype version of SpaceX’s next-generation people-carrier rocket exploded into flames after the engine was being tested.

By Ian Horswill

Posted on July 18, 2019

A prototype version of SpaceX’s next-generation people-carrier rocket, Starship, exploded into flames as the engine was being tested.

About four minutes after SpaceX ignited the vehicle’s engine, a second small explosion engulfed the rocket in flames for a few seconds at the company’s facility in Boca Chica, Texas. The fire was quickly extinguished.

It is unclear if any damage was done to the rocket, which is made of stainless steel, and SpaceX has not responded to requests for comment on the incident. Crews were working underneath the prototype rocket this morning.

Known as Starhopper, the prototype rocket is an early version of the company’s StarshipStarship, with an enormous booster called ‘Super Heavy’, is being built to achieve founder Elon Musk’s dream of transporting up to 100 people to destinations including the moon and Mars.

SpaceX is building multiple versions of the rocket at the company’s test facilities in Cape Canaveral, Florida and Boca Chica, Texas, CNBC reported.

Read next:Mining the moon: the space start-ups looking for lunar resources

The prototype in Boca Chica is testing SpaceX’s new engine, the Raptor, which was being developed specifically for StarshipStarhopper was held in place, to see if the hardware was ready. Moments after a seemingly successful ignition, the rocket lit up again in a fireball which had to be extinguished.

Read next: SpaceX capsule Dragon reaches International Space Station