SPACEX rocket launches are always in the news but some definitely go more to plan than others.
We’ve rounded up four of the most notorious SpaceX launches that either resulted in success or disaster.
SN8 rocket explosion
Video footage showed the rocket prototype bursting into flames[/caption]
Fortunately, most of SpaceX’s launches do go to plan but one shocking failure occurred late last year.
In December 2020, a SpaceX Starship SN8 rocket crashed and exploded in a huge fireball after narrowly missing its landing pad.
Dramatic footage showed the unmanned test capsule blowing up as it smashed into the ground having soared to 40,000ft, in its first high-altitude flight.
The $216million rocket is part of SpaceX CEO Elon Musk‘s vision to transport humans to Mars.
The SN8 rocket exploded in December 2020[/caption]
Despite the loss of the spacecraft, the flight was considered a major success because of the height reached and the data collected.
US crewed space launch for first time in decade
Astronauts in the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule[/caption]
One of the most successful SpaceX launches of all time was arguably when Musk’s firm launched two astronauts into space from US soil for the first time in a decade.
Back in May 2020, Nasa heroes Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley blasted into orbit aboard a spacecraft built by California rocket firm SpaceX.
The astronauts spent around 19 hours in orbit before docking with the International Space Station roughly 250 miles above Earth.
The historic flight also marked the first time astronauts have flown into orbit using a spacecraft built by a private company.
SpaceX beats satellite world record
This image shows 60 Starlink satellites loaded into a Falcon rocket[/caption]
Another successful launch saw SpaceX beat the world record for the number of satellites sent to space on a single rocket.
The company sent 143 satellites into space on a SpaceX Falcon rocket back in January this year.
The previous record was 104 and that was carried by an Indian spacecraft in 2017.
SpaceX Starship SN10 prototype explosion
The SN10 prototype had an explosive ending[/caption]
A more recent SpaceX ‘fail’ saw its Starship SN10 prototype rocket burst into flames.
It exploded minutes after successfully landing on a concrete pad in early March this year.
The rocket stood upright on the ground for about 10 minutes before suddenly bursting up with its tail in flames due to a possible methane leak.
Nevertheless, the high-altitude flight test in Boca Chica, Texas, apparently represented success for Musk’s aerospace company.
He appeared to laugh off the explosion after the landing in a tweet.
“Starship SN10 landed in one piece!” the SpaceX CEO wrote.
What is SpaceX?
Here's what you need to know…
SpaceX is a cash-flushed rocket company that wants to take man to Mars.
It was set up by eccentric billionaire Elon Musk in 2002 and is based in Hawthorne, California.
SpaceX’s first aim was to build rockets that can autonomously land back on Earth for refurbishment and re-use.
The technology makes launching and operating space flights more efficient, and therefore cheaper.
SpaceX currently uses its reusable Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets to fly cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) for Nasa.
It also carries satellites and other space tech into orbit for various government agencies and multinational companies.
The company took astronauts to the ISS for the first time in 2020.
Other future missions involve carrying tourists to the ISS and astronauts to the Moon and Mars.
Musk has repeatedly said he believes humanity must colonise Mars to save itself from extinction.
He plans to get a SpaceX rocket to the Red Planet by 2027.
Most read in Science
In other space news, China appears to be developing a knockoff version of SpaceX’s next-generation rocket as it moves to enter a new space race with the US.
Elon Musk has claimed that SpaceX could land astronauts on the Moon within the next three years.
And, the world’s first reality show filmed in space will follow a contestant on a 10-day trip to the ISS in 2023.
Have you ever watched a rocket launch? Let us know in the comments…
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