SpaceX has launched another of its Starship prototypes, and once again just fell short.

The uncrewed vehicle, codenamed SN9, climbed to 10km above the Texas Gulf coast, and then descended to attempt a planned landing a short distance from where it had lifted off.

 

The Elon Musk-owned SpaceX had previously launched its SN8 which also crashed following takeoff.

 

Despite the failure, SpaceX said a huge amount of data would be gained from the test flight, and its engineers would press on with the Starship program.

 

The 50m-tall Starship is a concept for future space transportation.

 

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk believes that once fully developed, the vehicle will be capable of taking people to Mars. It could also ferry people quickly around the globe. Putting satellites in orbit is another objective for the technology.

 

SN9, the latest model, was cleared to launch only after receiving the necessary Federal Aviation Administration approvals, which came early on Tuesday.

 

SpaceX already has SN10 on a mount ready for the next experimental flight. Further prototypes are at various stages of assembly at Boca Chica.

 

Mr Musk has said publicly that Starship is now the number-one priority for SpaceX, beyond the Falcon rockets it currently routinely flies to serve satellite operators.