The core Starship spacecraft separating from the first stage booster during the test flight

SpaceX launched its Starship mega rocket, the most powerful rocket on Earth, on its second test flight this weekend, and the vehicle met an unfortunate explosive end.

Starship, developed to carry astronauts to the moon and beyond, failed in space shortly after lifting off on Saturday, cutting short its second test but making it further than an earlier attempt that ended in a spectacular explosion.

The two-stage rocket ship blasted off from the company's Starbase launch site near Boca Chica in Texas, helping boost the Starship spacecraft as high as 90 miles (148 km) above ground on a planned 90-minute test mission to space and back.

But the rocket's Super Heavy first stage booster, though it achieved a crucial manoeuvre to separate with its core Starship stage, exploded over the Gulf of Mexico shortly after detaching.

Meanwhile, the core Starship stage boosted further toward space, but a few minutes later a company broadcaster said that SpaceX mission experienced a "Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly" which in other words simply meant an massive explosion had destroyed the spacecraft.

The Starship was supposed to complete a partial trip around the Earth, almost obtaining orbital velocity, before belly flopping into the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii.

During the first test flight, SpaceX was forced to blow up Starship during its first test flight four minutes after launch on April 20, 2023 because the two stages failed to separate. The rocket disintegrated into a ball of fire and crashed into the Gulf of Mexico, sending a dust cloud over a town several kilometers away.

The first launch also caused massive damage to the company's launchpad at Starbase, and this has now been reinforced with high-strength concrete and a system that will jet water to protect against the enormous heat and force generated by the launch.

Despite these setbacks SpaceX is bound to bounce back with success, the company has shown tremendous resilience even during its expendable launch vehicle development program. Many flights were lost but SpaceX managed to develop a rocket system that is reliable and quite cheap to operate.