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SpaceX Starship prototype explodes during test

A SpaceX Starship prototype exploded during a test Friday afternoon.

The SN4 prototype was completing a static fire test of its engines at the testing facility in Texas when it suddenly caught fire and exploded. The entire craft appeared to have been destroyed, with fires raging at the test site, according to a livestream of the test on the NASAspaceflight YouTube channel.

The prototype, named SN4, successfully passed pressure testing in April. But two earlier prototypes imploded during pressure testing.

SpaceX, which will launch its Crew Dragon capsule on Saturday to send NASA astronauts to the International Space Station, plans to get to Mars using the Starship.

The Federal Aviation Administration recently published the launch license for the Starship Prototype Launch Vehicle, which allows SpaceX to launch suborbital flights from its testing facility in Boca Chica, Texas.

The cause for the explosion remains unclear, but we will update this article as soon as SpaceX releases a statement on the incident.

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