The first time Anthony Gomez saw one of SpaceX’s Starship prototypes fly, he was watching it on a projector. It was a long way from the wet Texas coast where the launch was taking place. Instead, he was sitting in his house in Florida with his girlfriend.
On the wall of his home, Anthony admired the Starship rocket gliding through the sky. All three Raptor engines cut out when the spacecraft reached an altitude of about 41,000 feet, and the massive steel vessel began to descend back toward Earth, turned on its side, resembling a free-falling grain silo. Just before it reached the landing pad, its engines reignited and the vehicle quickly straightened up again as it prepared to touch down. But the spacecraft descended too quickly, hit the ground hard and disintegrated in a massive explosion. After that, only a charred piece of Earth remained where the Starship once was – a disappointment.