Apparently the thrust of the first stage was not strong enough and the spacecraft was not able to separate from it. This is still an unmanned test flight and it seems that now the manned tests will move away * This is the fourth prototype to crash on launch
SpaceX's prototype Starship rocket exploded about four minutes after liftoff during a test flight today, Tuesday, April 20, 2023. The prototype, called SN14, was launched from the company's test facilities in Boca Chica, Texas. The rocket reached an altitude of about 10 kilometers before suddenly exploding and crashing back to Earth.
The cause of the explosion is still unknown, but SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted that the rocket's engine thrust "was too low" during ascent. He also noted that "some of the landing system components are being redesigned" and that "I hope they will do better with SN15," referring to the next Starship prototype that will continue the launch tests.
The Starship rocket is part of SpaceX's ambitious plan to revolutionize space travel by making it cheaper and more accessible. The company has already achieved several milestones, such as sending astronauts to the International Space Station and landing reusable launchers on autonomous ships at sea. However, the development of the spacecraft proved to be a significant technical challenge, and it remains to be seen when the company will be able to successfully launch and land a fully operational version of the spacecraft.
The Starship rocket is intended to be a fully reusable spacecraft that can carry up to 100 people and 100 tons of cargo to destinations such as the Moon and Mars. The company is conducting a series of tests with its starship prototypes, but this is the fourth test that ended in an explosion. Despite the delays, Musk said the company will continue to iterate and improve the design until it succeeds.
- Height: 120 meters
- Diameter: 9 meters
- Weight: 1,400,000 kg
- Cargo capacity: up to 100 tons
The spacecraft consists of two parts: the Super Heavy booster that provides the initial thrust to lift the spacecraft off the ground, and the Starship spacecraft, which carries the payload to orbit and beyond.
The Starship spacecraft is made of stainless steel, which is both lightweight and strong enough to withstand the harsh conditions of space travel. It is designed to be fully reusable, with heat shields and thrusters that will allow it to land on Earth or other planets.
The Starship program has a long history, dating back to 2011, when SpaceX first announced plans for a reusable spacecraft. The company has gone through several incarnations of the design, with the current Starship being the fifth major version.
SpaceX has conducted several successful test flights of the Starship prototype, including a high-altitude test in May 2021 in which the spacecraft reached an altitude of 10 km (6.2 miles) before successfully landing back on Earth.
The spacecraft program is seen as a key part of SpaceX's long-term goal of colonizing Mars and making space travel more accessible and affordable.
More of the topic in Hayadan:
- Columbia disaster - comprehensive coverage including dozens of articles
- SpaceX: The Starship prototype flight took place successfully but the vessel exploded a few minutes later
- SpaceX's Starship 8 spacecraft crashed tonight during a test landing in Texas (video)
- NASA chose SpaceX to land a manned spacecraft on the moon to demonstrate capability