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24 Jan, 2019 11:58

New SpaceX test rocket BLOWN over by fierce wind (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)

New SpaceX test rocket BLOWN over by fierce wind (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)

‘Starship’ test rocket suffered a serious setback when it was knocked over by strong winds in Texas. The damage will take “weeks” to repair, according to Elon Musk.

The prototype of the space agency’s ambitious Mars-bound project sustained substantial damage in the early hours of Wednesday morning, thanks to 50mph winds in Boca Chica, Texas. Footage from the SpaceX facility shows part of the rocket on its side and heavily damaged.

Initial online speculation hoped the rocket had been placed on its side in preparation for the weather, but a Wednesday morning tweet from SpaceX founder Elon Musk confirmed the wind broke the mooring blocks and pushed the project back by “a few weeks.”

READ MORE: SpaceX to fire 10% of staff, bracing for ‘extraordinarily difficult times ahead’ – report

Devastated SpaceX fans expressed their sorrow at seeing the groundbreaking piece of machinery lying damaged on the ground, calling it a “nightmare” and a “super sad setback.” SpaceX watcher Maria Pointer shared footage of the wreck on Facebook, showing the rocket’s nose cone on the ground.

Starship falls around 5 am. But we heard metal damage from 2 am onward,” wrote Pointer. “I’m a retired master mariner and judge by sound… But didn’t see this coming.”

At the beginning of January, Musk excitedly shared a picture of the prototype’s progress as it was being assembled. Once the damage is repaired the next step for the rocket is to perform a series of ‘hop’ tests by sending it into low altitudes and landing it back on Earth upright.