SpaceX Starship prototype explodes in fireball landing during test run

SPACE-EXPLORATION  STARSHIP

SPACE-EXPLORATION STARSHIP

The Starship prototype exploded while attempting to land after an otherwise successful test launch from the company's rocket facility in Boca Chica, Texas.

The test flight had been meant to reach an altitude of 41,000 feet (12.5 kilometres), propelled by three of SpaceX's newly developed Raptor engines for the first time.

The experimental test vehicle lifted off and slowly ascended to its target height of 12.5 kilometers, with every aspect of the test appearing nominal, until the final landing burn.

The SN8 Starship showed much potential on its second attempt of the test flight, making the CEO excited and saying that the company is already coming for Mars.

Any future starship rocket will be equipped with 37 engines instead of nine, and will be 120 meters (390 feet) high and capable of carrying 100 tons of cargo into orbit around the earth. As the SN8 Starship came down, it performed a flip maneuver to get its engines pointed at the ground.

Astoundingly, the test appeared to be nearing a ideal ending until the vehicle landed with a much higher velocity than planned, exploding upon impact with the ground.

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Musk also took to Twitter to state his excitement, as well as the cause for the hard landing and "rapid unscheduled disassembly", also known as a RUD. He said pressure in a fuel tank was low on descent and caused the landing velocity to be too high. "Congrats SpaceX team hell yeah".

You can see the SN8 test flight in the video below. The first sub-orbital flight for the SN8 prototype was nonetheless largely a successful one, with the massive vehicle designed for deep space travel achieving a few key objectives before its fiery demise.

The private aerospace manufacturer and technology company, SpaceX, is now celebrating together with Elon Musk for SN8 Starship's test flight, which revealed the spacecraft's achievements and flaws made for Mars. Musk tweeted this evening.

Today's flight was nearly delayed an additional 24 hours when, late in the count, a hold was called and the vehicle was rapidly depressurized of its cryogenic fuel.

The stainless steel Starship is created to be a versatile, fully reusable craft that can carry 100 metric tons for deep space missions to the moon and Mars but also serve as a hypersonic, point-to-point vehicle to reduce travel times across Earth. It didn't plummet straight down, oriented vertically, like a Falcon 9 booster would, though.

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