After a seemingly successful flight and landing, SpaceX's unmanned rocket exploded on the ground on Wednesday.
SpaceX founder and billionaire Elon Musk reacted today with his signature wit and humour.
"SN10 is in Valhalla now," Mr Musk tweeted. Valhalla is an enormous hall in Norse mythology where Odin, the ruler God of Asgard, sends those who die in combat. Recently, Asgard and Valhalla have been made popular by Marvel's Thor movies.
Mr Musk's tweet seemingly refers to the fight the rocket put up before blowing up into flames - hence SN10 has now been sent to Valhalla.
He also shared a YouTube video of the landing and subsequent crash with the tweet.
SN10 is in Valhalla nowhttps://t.co/dHy4tDVGnI— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 5, 2021
The Starship SN10 prototype had lifted off from SpaceX's Texas launch pad in Boca Chica. It was the third straight blunder involving the prototype of the Starship rocket, which SpaceX hopes one day to send to Mars. The last two test flights ended in spectacular crashes.
The SN10 rocket had settled on the launch pad with a slight lean. There is loud cheering and applause, as heard in the video, as the rocket lands.
But the triumph was short-lived.
Soon after, it was lifted in air, an explosion followed and was shrouded with flames, possibly after a fire ignited fuel.
If the SN10 made it, it would have appeared to achieve a key milestone with its first stable landing in three attempts.
Elon Musk plans to use the Starship to shuttle as many as 12 people around the moon in 2023, land NASA astronauts on the lunar surface and eventually settle explorers on Mars. The company still has work to prepare the Starship for its first orbital flight, which could occur later this year.
"I'm highly confident that we will have reached orbit many times with Starship before 2023, and that it will be safe enough for human transport by 2023," Mr Musk said in a video on Tuesday. He had said in October that he's 80 to 90 per cent confident that Starship will be ready for an orbital flight this year.
(With inputs from AFP, Reuters)