News Desk Tech World

Thu 04 March 2021:

The Starship SN10 spacecraft touched down successfully after a high-altitude test flight today (March 3), a major milestone for the company and its crewed Mars ambitions. But the vehicle didn’t manage to hold itself together, exploding about eight minutes after landing.

The rocket prototype flew more than six miles (10 kilometers) above Texas and landed over six minutes after the launch.

This is the third time such a flight is being tested.

The prototype’s predecessors, SN8 and SN9, which flew on Dec. 9, 2020 and Feb. 2 of this year, respectively, exploded after touching down.


“Third time’s a charm, as the saying goes,” SpaceX principal integration engineer John Insprucker said during SpaceX’s launch webcast today. “We’ve had a successful soft touchdown on the landing pad that’s capping a beautiful test flight of Starship 10.”

But that wasn’t the end of the story. Some flames were visible near SN10’s base shortly after landing, and that was a sign of things to come: the vehicle exploded on the landing pad at about 6:30 p.m. EST (2330 GMT), rising up and crashing down again in a huge fireball.

SpaceX is developing Starship to get people and payloads to the moon, Mars and other distant destinations, and to fly any other missions the company requires. Indeed, SpaceX plans to eventually phase out its other flight hardware — the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets and Dragon cargo and crew capsules — and let Starship shoulder the entire load, company founder and CEO Elon Musk has said.

Musk believes that Starship’s combination of rapid reusability and power — the system will be able to loft more than 110 tons (100 metric tons) to low Earth orbit, according to its SpaceX specifications page — is the breakthrough that will make ambitious feats such as Mars settlement economically feasible.

Musk has said that the company aims to get a Starship prototype to orbit this year, and he expects the final spaceflight system to be flying people regularly by 2023.




Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *