Space transportation service company SpaceX’s Starship serial number 8 (SN8) prototype rocket has exploded while landing during a high-altitude flight test.

The prototype rocket lifted off from SpaceX’s Cameron County launch pad in Boca Chica, Texas, US.

The self-guided rocket exploded on a landing pad after performing ascending, transitioning propellant, and landing flip manoeuvre to reach its landing point.

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

This test launch follows after SpaceX aborted the flight test on 8 December due to a Raptor engine auto-abort at T-1 second.

The 394ft-tall SpaceX prototype for the heavy-lift launch vehicle is made of stainless steel and powered by three of SpaceX’s newly developed Raptor engines.

The fully reusable vehicle is designed to carry astronauts and 100t of cargo on future missions to the Moon and Mars.

It is the first version of the rocket that was revealed last year.

In August and September, the company successfully completed flights, exceeding 500ft, with the prototype’s predecessors SN6 and SN5.

The company has almost completed construction on the next prototype SN9.

In a statement, SpaceX said: “Thank you to all the locals supporting our efforts in Cameron County and beyond. Congratulations to the entire Starship and SpaceX teams on today’s test! Serial number 9 (SN9) is up next – Mars, here we come!”