The most powerful rocket ever built has exploded shortly after lift-off in what creator Space X called a "rapid unscheduled disassembly".

The company, founded by billionaire Elon Musk, hopes that the shuttle will eventually be a gateway to interplanetary travel.

It was due to launch from Texas on Monday but weather saw lift-off delayed.

Space X is aiming to create a reusable rocket and successfully launched the 32-engine vehicle without blowing up the launch pad.

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However, in the second stage of flight the booster rocket failed to separate from the upper stage and the rocket exploded in mid-air.

There were no human beings or cargo on board at the time of the detonation.

Space X said: "Starship experienced a rapid unscheduled disassembly before stage separation.

"Teams will continue to review data and work toward our next flight test.

"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.

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"Congratulations to the entire SpaceX team on an exciting first integrated flight test of Starship!"

Mr Musk, who owns Twitter, wrote on the social media site: "Congrats @SpaceX team on an exciting test launch of Starship!

"Learned a lot for next test launch in a few months."

While the rocket did explode, it's thought the launch will be considered a success given Starship got off the ground without destroying the launch pad and provided data.

Space X has another rocket with improvements which is expected to be launched in the coming months.