A prototype of the SpaceX Starship rocket lands on the nails … then explodes

The third time seemed to be a spell in Elon Musk’s starship rocket – until it was.

A prototype of SpaceX’s latest heavy-duty launch vehicle landed flawlessly in the sky in a high-altitude test that was blown up by Texas Boca Chica on Wednesday and then flew back to Earth to reach the first vertical landing for a Starship model.

But the triumph lasted a short time. Slightly lined up on one side, as an automated fire-fighting system formed a stream of water on the flames still burning at the base of the rocket, the spacecraft blew itself to pieces about eight minutes after it hit the ground.

It was the third such landing attempt to end with a fireball after the starship’s otherwise successful test flight, developed by SpaceX to carry people and 100 tons of cargo for future missions to the Moon and Mars.

A test flight of the Starship SN10 prototype at the SpaceX test facility in South Texas, near the village of Boca Chica in Brownsville, Texas, on March 3, 2021.SpaceX / via AFP – Getty Images

Musk, the founder of SpaceX billionaire, who also leads Tesla’s electric car industry, was mixed news.

The Starship SN10 has come much closer to achieving a safe, vertical touch than two previous models – SN8 in December and SN9 in February. In a tweet to the moderate congratulations of one of his admirers of his work, Musk replied, “RIP SN10, a respectable discharge”

The video channel provided by SpaceX on the company’s YouTube channel shut it off a few minutes after landing. But separate fans flowing through the same social media platform revealed that a sudden explosion at the base of the rocket introduced the SN10 into the air before it crashed to the ground and burst into flames.

The full Starship rocket, which will be 394 feet (120 meters) high when paired with its super-heavy first-rate amp, is SpaceX’s next-generation fully reusable launch vehicle – the focus of Musk’s efforts to make human space travel more affordable. and routine.

The first starship to fly will be scheduled to fly by the end of the year. Musk said he wants to fly Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa around the moon in 2023 with the starship.