A SpaceX rocket prototype, known as SN10, soared over South Texas during a test flight Wednesday before swooping down to a pinpoint landing near its launch site.
Approximately three minutes after landing, however, multiple video feeds showed the rocket exploding on its landing pad.
SpaceX's SN10, an early prototype of the company's Starship Mars rocket, took off around 5:15 p.m. CT and climbed about six miles over the coastal landscape, mimicking two previous test flights SpaceX has conducted that ended in an explosive crash, according to CNN. Wednesday marked the first successful landing for a Starship prototype.
"We've had a successful soft touch down on the landing pad," SpaceX engineer John Insprucker said during a livestream of the event. "That's capping a beautiful test flight of Starship 10."
It was unclear what caused the rocket to explode after landing, and the SpaceX livestream cut out before the conflagration.
Insprucker added that SpaceX has several other prototypes already in production and the next, SN11, will be ready to roll out for another test flight 'in the near future."
Last month, the SN9 rocket was cleared for lift-off from Boca Chica, Texas by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). It launched smoothly and progressively shut down its engines as it reached a height of 10 kilometers, then performed a series of test maneuvers in a horizontal "belly flop" position.
The previous prototype of Starship met a similar fate in December.