SpaceX: World's biggest rocket explodes minutes after launch

SpaceX's Starship entered the record books with its launch, but things began to unravel just minutes into its journey, as Dan Rivers reports

The biggest and most powerful rocket ever made exploded moments after it was launched by SpaceX.

The nearly 400-foot (120-metre) Starship, created by Elon Musk's SpaceX, blasted off from the southern tip of Texas in the US.

Although the rocket successfully launched and made it into the air, the booster rocket, Super Heavy, appeared to have failed to separate.

It carried no people or satellites and crashed into the Gulf of Mexico.

Despite the explosion, or "rapid unscheduled disassembly" as SpaceX put it, the firm is taking the launch as a success.

"With a test like this, success comes from what we learn, and today’s test will help us improve Starship’s reliability as SpaceX seeks to make life multi-planetary," the company tweeted.

Spectators counted down as the rocket prepared to launch

The plan called for the booster to separate from the spacecraft minutes after liftoff, but that didn't happen.

The rocket began to tumble and then exploded four minutes into the flight, plummeting into the gulf.

The spacecraft was meant to continue east after separating and attempt the circle the world before crashing into the Pacific near Hawaii.

SpaceX's Starship launches from Starbase in Boca Chica Credit: AP

SpaceX boss Musk said they have "learned a lot" and is looking ahead to the next launch int he coming months.

Earlier, Musk gave 50-50 odds of the spacecraft reaching orbit on its debut.

The 120-metre-tall vehicle lifted off from SpaceX Starbase in the US state of Texas Credit: AP

It comes days after the rocket's planned launch was scrapped at the last minute due to an issue with a frozen valve.

In a tweet sent minutes before the rocket was supposed to lift off on Monday, Elon Musk said: “A pressurant valve appears to be frozen, so unless it starts operating soon, no launch today.” He added that the team had "learnt a lot" and would "retry in a few days".

The company plans to use Starship to send people and cargo to the moon and, eventually, Mars.

Nasa has reserved a Starship for its next moonwalking team, and rich tourists are already booking lunar flybys.

Spectators pictured awaiting liftoff earlier today Credit: AP

Last night, hundreds of space fans returned to the launch site at Boca Chica Beach in the hopes of seeing the launch today.

“I've been waiting for this, really, for years,” Bob Drwal told The Associated Press.

The retired engineer said he drove almost 1,500 miles from Chicago to southern Texas to witness the spectacle along with his wife Donna.

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