SpaceX Starship launch: Rocket prototype explodes after failed landing in Texas

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A SpaceX Starship prototype rocket has exploded on landing after an experimental launch in Texas.

The Starship SN9 launched successfully but blew up on its final descent in Boca Chica on Tuesday, in a repeat of an accident that destroyed previous test rocket the SN8 in December.

Like the SN8, the SN9 was a prototype for a heavy-lift rocket.

The space craft is being developed by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk's private space company to carry humans and 100 tonnes of cargo on future missions to the moon and Mars.

"We had, again, another great flight up... we've just gotta work on that landing a little bit," SpaceX principal integration engineer John Insprucker said on the company's webcast of the flight.

Despite the crash, SpaceX views the test flight as a step forward in the rocket's development and is already progressing with plans for the launch of SN10.

Starship and launch vehicle Super Heavy were unveiled by Musk in 2019.

The pair are designed to carry a crew and cargo "to the moon, Mars or anywhere else in the solar system" and land back on Earth perpendicularly instead of horizontally, Musk has previously said.