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HomeElon MuskSpaceX prototype Starship explodes in gigantic fireball after high-altitude test flight

SpaceX prototype Starship explodes in gigantic fireball after high-altitude test flight

SpaceX prototype Starship explodes in gigantic fireball after high-altitude test flight

SpaceX’s second full test flight of its futuristic, bullet-shaped Starship ended in another fiery crash landing on Tuesday.

Elon Musk’s company launched its latest Starship prototype from the south-eastern tip of Texas, two months after the previous test ended in an equally explosive belly flop.

The full-scale stainless steel rocket reached its intended altitude of 6.2 miles, slightly lower than the last one.

All seemed on schedule as the 160-foot Starship flipped on its side and began its descent. But it did not manage to straighten itself back up in time for a landing and slammed into the ground.

‘We’ve just got to work on that landing a little bit,’ said SpaceX launch commentator John Insprucker.

‘Reminder – this is a test flight.’

SPACEX SN9 CRASH LANDS - STARSHIP SN9 HIGH-ALTITUDE FLIGHT TEST - As early as Tuesday, February 2, the SpaceX team will attempt a high-altitude flight test of Starship serial number 9 (SN9) ? the second high-altitude suborbital flight test of a Starship prototype from our site in Cameron County, Texas. Similar to the high-altitude flight test of Starship serial number 8 (SN8), SN9 will be powered through ascent by three Raptor engines, each shutting down in sequence prior to the vehicle reaching apogee ? approximately 10 km in altitude. SN9 will perform a propellant transition to the internal header tanks, which hold landing propellant, before reorienting itself for reentry and a controlled aerodynamic descent. The Starship prototype will descend under active aerodynamic control, accomplished by independent movement of two forward and two aft flaps on the vehicle. All four flaps are actuated by an onboard flight computer to control Starship?s attitude during flight and enable precise landing at the intended location. SN9?s Raptor engines will then reignite as the vehicle attempts a landing flip maneuver immediately before touching down on the landing pad adjacent to the launch mount. 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. There will be a live feed of the flight test available here that will start a few minutes prior to liftoff. Given the dynamic schedule of development testing, stay tuned to our social media channels for updates as we move toward SpaceX?s second high-altitude flight test of Starship!
The Starship prototype blasts off from the test facility (SpaceX)
SPACEX SN9 CRASH LANDS - STARSHIP SN9 HIGH-ALTITUDE FLIGHT TEST - As early as Tuesday, February 2, the SpaceX team will attempt a high-altitude flight test of Starship serial number 9 (SN9) ? the second high-altitude suborbital flight test of a Starship prototype from our site in Cameron County, Texas. Similar to the high-altitude flight test of Starship serial number 8 (SN8), SN9 will be powered through ascent by three Raptor engines, each shutting down in sequence prior to the vehicle reaching apogee ? approximately 10 km in altitude. SN9 will perform a propellant transition to the internal header tanks, which hold landing propellant, before reorienting itself for reentry and a controlled aerodynamic descent. The Starship prototype will descend under active aerodynamic control, accomplished by independent movement of two forward and two aft flaps on the vehicle. All four flaps are actuated by an onboard flight computer to control Starship?s attitude during flight and enable precise landing at the intended location. SN9?s Raptor engines will then reignite as the vehicle attempts a landing flip maneuver immediately before touching down on the landing pad adjacent to the launch mount. 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. There will be a live feed of the flight test available here that will start a few minutes prior to liftoff. Given the dynamic schedule of development testing, stay tuned to our social media channels for updates as we move toward SpaceX?s second high-altitude flight test of Starship!
SN9 was powered through ascent by three Raptor engines, each shutting down in sequence prior to the vehicle reaching apogee (SpaceX)
SPACEX SN9 CRASH LANDS - STARSHIP SN9 HIGH-ALTITUDE FLIGHT TEST - As early as Tuesday, February 2, the SpaceX team will attempt a high-altitude flight test of Starship serial number 9 (SN9) ? the second high-altitude suborbital flight test of a Starship prototype from our site in Cameron County, Texas. Similar to the high-altitude flight test of Starship serial number 8 (SN8), SN9 will be powered through ascent by three Raptor engines, each shutting down in sequence prior to the vehicle reaching apogee ? approximately 10 km in altitude. SN9 will perform a propellant transition to the internal header tanks, which hold landing propellant, before reorienting itself for reentry and a controlled aerodynamic descent. The Starship prototype will descend under active aerodynamic control, accomplished by independent movement of two forward and two aft flaps on the vehicle. All four flaps are actuated by an onboard flight computer to control Starship?s attitude during flight and enable precise landing at the intended location. SN9?s Raptor engines will then reignite as the vehicle attempts a landing flip maneuver immediately before touching down on the landing pad adjacent to the launch mount. 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. There will be a live feed of the flight test available here that will start a few minutes prior to liftoff. Given the dynamic schedule of development testing, stay tuned to our social media channels for updates as we move toward SpaceX?s second high-altitude flight test of Starship!
The Starship prototype descended under active aerodynamic control, accomplished by independent movement of two forward and two aft flaps on the vehicle. (SpaceX)
SPACEX SN9 CRASH LANDS - STARSHIP SN9 HIGH-ALTITUDE FLIGHT TEST - As early as Tuesday, February 2, the SpaceX team will attempt a high-altitude flight test of Starship serial number 9 (SN9) ? the second high-altitude suborbital flight test of a Starship prototype from our site in Cameron County, Texas. Similar to the high-altitude flight test of Starship serial number 8 (SN8), SN9 will be powered through ascent by three Raptor engines, each shutting down in sequence prior to the vehicle reaching apogee ? approximately 10 km in altitude. SN9 will perform a propellant transition to the internal header tanks, which hold landing propellant, before reorienting itself for reentry and a controlled aerodynamic descent. The Starship prototype will descend under active aerodynamic control, accomplished by independent movement of two forward and two aft flaps on the vehicle. All four flaps are actuated by an onboard flight computer to control Starship?s attitude during flight and enable precise landing at the intended location. SN9?s Raptor engines will then reignite as the vehicle attempts a landing flip maneuver immediately before touching down on the landing pad adjacent to the launch mount. 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. There will be a live feed of the flight test available here that will start a few minutes prior to liftoff. Given the dynamic schedule of development testing, stay tuned to our social media channels for updates as we move toward SpaceX?s second high-altitude flight test of Starship!
After reaching an altitude of six miles, the Starship prototype crashed on landing (SpaceX)
The SpaceX Starship SN9 explodes into a fireball after its high altitude test flight from test facilities in Boca Chica, Texas, U.S. February 2, 2021. REUTERS/Gene Blevins
This is the second Starship prototype that has met a fiery end during testing (Reuters)

The next Starship stood nearby at the launch site in Boca Chica, Texas, during Tuesday’s test, which lasted six-and-a-half minutes.

Mr Musk is developing Starship to carry people to Mars, perhaps in as little as several years. It’s the upper stage of his intended moon and Mars ships, meant to launch atop a mega rocket called Super Heavy that is still being developed.

SpaceX tried to launch Starship last week, but failed to secure the necessary approval from the Federal Aviation Administration, prompting a Twitter outburst from Musk.