SpaceX Starship Explodes Upon Landing In Latest Test Of Mars-bound Spacecraft
Published in Feb 2021 / Updated in Mar 2021
A SpaceX Starship prototype exploded during a test flight.
Despite the crash of the SN8 back in December, SpaceX continued with its quest to explore space with its latest SN9 prototype starship.
However, the SN9 test didn’t go as planned, as the prototype crashed and exploded upon landing.
Experts at SpaceX had scheduled the Starship to rise to an altitude of about 6 miles and then move back to the landing pad.
And the launch went as planned, with the rocket attaining the six-mile goal about four minutes into flight.
The Starship then successfully performed an aerodynamic descent on its side while falling to the earth.
However, it was unable to maneuver into a vertical position before landing on the launch pad.
Thus, it landed with a deafening crash. The Starship then exploded into bright orange flames and a dust cloud.
Commenting on the scene, SpaceX principal integration engineer John Insprucker said:
“We had, again, another great flight up … we’ve just got to work on that landing a little bit.”
“We demonstrated the ability to transition the engines to the landing propellant tanks.”
SpaceX website also emphasized both the importance and difficulty of achieving a safe landing for the craft.
It explained on its website:
“A controlled aerodynamic descent with body flaps and vertical landing capability, combined with in-space refilling, are critical to landing Starship at destinations across the solar system where prepared surfaces or runways do not exist and returning to Earth.”
“This capability will enable a fully reusable transportation system designed to carry both crew and cargo on long-duration, interplanetary flights and help humanity return to the moon, and travel to Mars and beyond.”
SpaceX has already built the SN10 Starship and is ready for launch. Though the company has delayed its launch, it’s working to gets the necessary approval from the Federal Aviation Administration soon.
Its CEO Elon Musk has dubbed the Starship prototype ‘next-generation spacecraft.’ He’s hoping to use the rocket to send people to Mars by 2026. That is seven years before NASA aims to land astronauts on the Red Planet.