After a high-altitude test flight on Tuesday, the experimental SpaceX rocket exploded. However, the site was foggy, and there is uncertainty of what caused the explosion exactly.
Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX, took to Twitter to confirm the explosion.
First, he Tweeted:
At least the crater is in the right place!
Second, he Tweeted:
Looks like engine 2 had issues on ascent & didn’t reach operating chamber pressure during landing burn, but, in theory, it wasn’t needed. Something significant happened shortly after landing burn starts. Should know what it was once we can examine the bits later today.
The three previous launches that SpaceX’s made of these prototypes for this rocket model happened to crash when it landed or shortly after it landed.
John Insprucker, SpaceX engineer, the person who was the host of the webcast of the launch test, said that SN11, the rocket has a normal take-off, and everything seemed to be fine before the cameras on-board lost signal and the rocket got covered by fog minutes before it landed.
Insprucker says that any updates will get shared by the company on social media once the engineers at SpaceX check the landing site.
The surrounding area of the vehicle had to clear for safety reasons before it can take off.
According to Insprucker, the company does not expect to get any video. He advised the viewers of the webcast to not wait for the landing.
Individual video streamers who recorded the flight were not able to catch the last moments of the flight because of the fog. However, a media site, NASASpaceflight reported that one of the cameras of the outlet might have gotten struck by wreckage from the rocket. The launchpad footage showed that SN11 was nowhere to be seen after the take-off of the rocket.
The early repetition of the Starship is SN11. It is a vehicle that Musk has envisions for and says that once day it will carry the first people to Mars.
Furthermore, it’s the fourth prototype launched by SpaceX for a high-altitude test flight because the company has to work how a massive vehicle will be able to land straight when it returns to Earth.
The last prototype to fly was SN10. It landed in a straight position this month. However, the footage shows that after 3 minutes the prototype exploded.
In September 2019, at a media event, Musk had explained the intended landing method for the starship.
He advertised it as a unique procedure that would look at the rocket dive back through the air with its belly facing the earth, and the four fins will slightly shift to keep it steady.
Musk that this procedure will mimic the way a skydiver falls through the air, instead of having an upright descent to earth that Falcon 9 rockets from SpaceX use when landing.
According to the company’s website:
Making sure the belly-flop procedure is perfect is the most important thing to enable a system that is fully reusable transportation, created to carry crew and cargo for long-time and help return to the moon and travel to Mars.
SpaceX plans to use the Starship for various reasons like transporting customers between cities at a fast speed and help NASA’s moon landing and finally be able to launch cargo and human missions to Mars.
The starship is in the beginning steps of its development.
The full-scale prototype has not yet got made.
In a recent interview with Joe Rogan, a podcast host, Musk said that they expect the starship to have regular flights by 2023 and that by the end of this year a vehicle will reach orbit.
It has not gotten known whether SpaceX will make it to the deadline or not.