SpaceX launches its giant new rocket but a pair of explosions ends the second test flight

SpaceX has launched its mega rocket Starship - but lost the booster and then the spacecraft minutes into the test flight.

The booster had sent the rocketship towards space, but communication was lost eight minutes after liftoff from South Texas and SpaceX declared that the vehicle had failed.

The trouble cropped up as the ship’s engines were almost done firing to put it on an around-the-world path. Minutes earlier, the booster exploded, but not until its job was done, putting the ship on a course toward space.

At 400 feet, Starship is the biggest and most powerful rocket ever built.

The 397-foot (121-metre) Starship rocket thundered into the sky and arced out over the Gulf of Mexico. The goal was to separate the spaceship from its booster and send it into space.

SpaceX aimed for an altitude of 150 miles (240 kilometres), just high enough to send the bullet-shaped spacecraft around the globe before ditching into the Pacific near Hawaii about 90 minutes after liftoff, short of a full orbit.

Starship is the biggest and most powerful rocket ever built. Its first flight in April lasted four minutes, with the wreckage crashing into the gulf.

Since then, Elon Musk’s company say it has made dozens of improvements to the booster and its 33 engines as well as the launch pad.