The SpaceX Starhopper spacecraft had a static fire test on late Tuesday, July 16, but a fireball engulfed the vehicle shortly after a static fire ignition of its Raptor rocket engine. 

Videos were taken during the engine test but specific details of what happened is impossible to make at the moment due to the quality of the footage. 

Some viewers, however, point at a fire visible at some parts on the Starhopper shortly after the static fire ignition and shutdown. What may look like fire though could just be a reflection of the active flare stack a few hundred feet away. 

Because the Raptor uses liquid methane and oxygen, there are speculations that there was some sort of leak during or after the static fire tests. 

The leak may have been ignited by a fire on or somewhere near the vehicle, or by the latent heat of Raptor’s components.

The incident that occurred after the ignition test will be dealt with and understood so this could be prevented in the future. The vehicle likely sustained some damage, but regardless if the Raptor’s static fire was technically successful, repairs are expected, reports said.

The Starhopper nonetheless seemed to be fully intact after the incident, which could be valuable for identifying what went wrong. 

The Starhopper spacecraft is a prototype of SpaceX's Starship Mars vehicle, which could bring humans to planet Mars and the moon in the future. 

The 100-passenger starship was designed to launch on top of a massive Super Heavy rocket that will be powered by 31 Raptors. 

SpaceX said that both the rocket and the Starship vehicle will be reusable, which could translate to more cost-effective spaceflights in the future. This could make trips to the moon and human colonization of the Red Planet affordable.