- SN10, a Starship rocket, explodes eight minutes after it appears to make a perfect landing
- The Starship is a next-generation, completely reusable launch vehicle built by SpaceX
- Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, has been working on a next-generation Starship rocket with the aim of travelling to Mars
The latest and biggest rocket from Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) made its first successful landing, but exploded and was engulfed in flames a short time later.
According to a live video stream on SpaceX’s website, the Starship SN-10 prototype launched from SpaceX’s seaside launch pad in Boca Chica, Texas, at around 5:15 p.m. on Wednesday. The rocket then soared to a height of around 10 kilometres (around 6 miles) before resuming flight and landing with a slight lean on the landing pad.
An explosion propelled the rocket into the air, and it was quickly engulfed in flames, possibly after a fire ignited the fuel. Until that moment, the rocket appeared to have accomplished a significant achievement by landing for the first time in three attempts. Following its ascent, Starship turned off its three Raptor engines and conducted a controlled “belly flop” descent before resuming its ascent and landing vertically.
Starship SN10’s post landing demise is unfortunate but still, everyone at SpaceX can chalk todays flight test up as a huge success. Become a patron at the link below for photo downloads, behind the scenes goodies, and more. @NASASpaceflight
➡️ https://t.co/h5jW6oXxkQ pic.twitter.com/H6OjBYCKb5— Jack Beyer (@thejackbeyer) March 4, 2021
Despite the mishap, the test is likely to signal that the massive vehicle is making progress. On the program’s first high-altitude flight on Dec. 9, an earlier Starship rocket slammed to the ground, igniting a fireball, followed by a similar outcome for a second prototype last month. No one was injured in the mishaps, and no injuries from the fire were recorded during the most recent flight, which was the third high-altitude drill.
Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, wants to use the Starship to ferry up to 12 people around the moon in 2023, land NASA astronauts on the moon’s surface, and finally settle explorers on Mars. The Starship is still being prepared for its first orbital flight, which could happen later this year.
Founder of SpaceX, Elon Musk said in a video, “I’m highly confident that we’ll have reached orbit several times with Starship before 2023, and that it’ll be secure enough for human transport by 2023.” Yusaku Maezawa, a Japanese entrepreneur, released the video on Tuesday, inviting eight people to apply to join his “fun trip” around the moon. Musk lso said, “It looks very, very promising.”
The stainless steel Starship was designed by SpaceX to be a versatile, completely reusable craft capable of carrying 100 metric tonnes for deep-space missions to the moon and Mars. It’s also intended to be used as a hypersonic point-to-point vehicle, cutting travel times across the globe.
Excluding a heavy booster that creates a two-stage system, Starship is 160 feet (49 metres) tall with a 30-foot diameter and can accommodate up to 100 passengers.
In October, Musk said that he is “80% to 90% optimistic” that Starship will be ready for an orbital flight this year. SpaceX, based in Hawthorne, California, plans to launch multiple Starship prototypes from its Texas launch site, which is close to the US-Mexico border.