SpaceX Starship explodes on landing during a test
Starship SN10 rolled out onto the launch pad on Friday, January 29, just four days before the delayed test flight of Starship Serial Number 9 (SN9). SN10 is the latest iteration of the next-gen spacecraft that will, hopefully, one day land humans on Mars. Starship SN9 launched on a 6.2-mile (10km) hop this Tuesday – SpaceX’s second high-altitude test flight – but failed to stick the landing.
As the rocket came crashing into the ground, it erupted into a spectacular ball of flames just like the SN8 model before it.
This time around, however, there were two Starship prototypes on the launchpad at SpaceX’s Boca Chica facility in South Texas.
The explosion left many SpaceX fans worried the stainless-steel prototype may have suffered damage in the blast.
One person tweeted: “Yeah, they really need to stick the landing lol… and I hope SN10 wasn’t damaged.”
Another person said: “I’m quite worried for SN10, there is a possibility of damage due to flying shrapnel from SN9.”
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And a third person said: “I think that leaving #SN10 soo close to the landing site was a mistake.
“It could have received damage from debris and the shockwave. I hope SN10 is ok.”
So far, there has been no news of any damage to the rocket but the same cannot be said about the SN9.
Aerospace photographer Jack Beyer had a chance to photograph the wreckage at Boca Chica this week.
He shared a series of photos on Twitter, saying: “Scenes from the crash site. Starship SN9 made a valiant effort to stick the landing but ultimately failed.
“Its wreckage is now strewn about the launch site as a result. Good luck SN10”
SpaceX perform 150m hop with Starship SN5
What is the launch date for Starship SN10?
SpaceX has not announced a launch date for SN10 yet but considering the company’s quick turnover fans might not have to wait too long.
SN10 is already out on the launchpad and according to a Space.com report, the rocket is “expected to begin prelaunch testing soon”.
Prelaunch testing involves pumping the rocket full of pressurised cryogenic liquids to test the rocket’s integrity.
SpaceX will also attempt a series of static fire tests.
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Static fire tests are a form of wet rehearsal during which Starship’s three Raptor engines are fire while the rocket is still tethered to the ground.
Starship is the upper stage of SpaceX’s multi-planetary launch vehicle, known collectively as Starship.
The spacecraft will launch from Earth on top of the Super Heavy booster rocket on missions to the Moon, Mars and possibly beyond.
According to SpaceX, Starship will be the world’s most powerful rocket, rivalling NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) and the historic Saturn V.
SpaceX said: “Starship has the capability to transport satellites, payloads, crew, and cargo to a variety of orbits and Earth, Lunar, or Martian landing sites.”
Starship will stand nearly 400ft-tall (120m) and carry upwards of 100 tonnes of cargo into low-Earth orbit (LEO) as well as up to 100 people to destinations like the Moon and Mars.
SpaceX said: “SpaceX was founded with the goal of making life multiplanetary.
“The Starship program is realizing this goal with the crew configuration of Starship.
“Drawing on experience from the development of Dragon for the Commercial Crew Program, the Starship crew configuration can transport up to 100 people from Earth into LEO and on to the Moon and Mars.”
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