IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

SpaceX test launch ends in fiery explosion, but Elon Musk still considers it a win

The company's Starship prototype was seen exploding upon impact once it landed on the SpaceX test launch livestream.

A SpaceX prototype ship fell to Earth in a fiery landing, exploding as it returned during the aerospace company's test launch Wednesday.

The company livestreamed the launch of its unmanned Starship spacecraft with a Super Heavy rocket for a high-altitude test flight Wednesday in Cameron County, Texas. SpaceX, founded and run by Elon Musk, had completed two low-altitude flights of the Starship before Wednesday's launch.

Musk tweeted shortly after the prototype's explosion, congratulating the SpaceX team for collecting the necessary data.

"Fuel header tank pressure was low during landing burn, causing touchdown velocity to be high & RUD, but we got all the data we needed!" Musk tweeted. "Congrats SpaceX team hell yeah!!"

He then tweeted, "Mars, here we come!"

SpaceX's website reiterated Musk's description of the events, noting that the high-velocity touchdown resulted in a "hard (and exciting!) landing." The spaceship still "successfully ascended, transitioned propellant and performed its landing flip maneuver."

"Congratulations to the entire Starship and SpaceX teams on today's test!" the company said.

The Starship model from SpaceX is designed to deliver satellites into orbit at a lower cost than its existing Falcon models, according to the company's website. The page dedicated to Starship said the product would mean a good step for "a fully reusable transportation system," but it seemed to mitigate expectations for the launch.

Download the NBC News app for breaking news

"With a test such as this, success is not measured by completion of specific objectives but rather how much we can learn, which will inform and improve the probability of success in the future as SpaceX rapidly advances development of Starship," the site said.

SpaceX had a successful launch in May of its Crew Dragon capsule, which took astronauts to the International Space Station. The launch marked the first time a commercial vehicle from a private company had carried NASA astronauts into orbit.

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.