SpaceX’s SN11 Starship test rocket exploded at the end of a high-altitude test flight, and dense fog at the launch site made the company initially unsure of the exact cause of the explosion.
(Elon Musk) Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, confirmed the explosion occurred by His official account Within the Twitter platform.
All three previous SpaceX launches of the Starship missile have failed due to the missile either crashing or exploding shortly after landing.
SpaceX engineer John Insprucker said the missile, known as SN11 Starship, had a natural ascent and everything seemed to be fine before the onboard cameras lost their signal and were shattered by fog moments before landing.
He added: The company is sharing updates via social media after SpaceX engineers can verify the landing site, andThe area around the vehicle must be cleaned for safety reasons.
The company does not expect to recover the video footage, andIndependent video transmitters recording the flight did not capture the last stretch of flight due to the fog, but NASASpaceflight – a media site – reported that one of its cameras may have collided with debris from the missile.
The SN11 is considered an early iteration of the Starship, which Mask envisions one day transporting humans to Mars. The fourth prototype that SpaceX has launched on a high-altitude test flight as the company works to discover how to safely land the mega-craft in an upright position after returning to Earth.
The SN10, the last aviation prototype, landed in an upright position earlier this month, but independent footage of the event showed it exploded about three minutes later.
Musk explained for the first time the intended landing of the Starship during a media event in September 2019.
He described it as a unique maneuver that would Keeping the missile stationary, he added: It is a maneuver designed to simulate how a skydiver falls into the air, rather than the straight vertical landing to the ground that Falcon 9 missiles use when they return to land.
Mastering the landing maneuver is essential to enable a fully reusable transportation system designed to carry both crew and cargo on long trips between planets and help humanity return to the moon and travel to Mars and beyond, according to the company’s website.
SpaceX intends to use the Starship for a variety of purposes, including transporting fare clients between cities at breakneck speeds, which could aid NASA’s efforts to land on the moon and launch human missions to Mars.
The Starship is still in the early stages of development, the large-scale prototype has yet to be built, and the company has yet to openly test the Super Heavy, a gigantic booster rocket that will be necessary to propel the spacecraft into Earth orbit or beyond.
Musk said in a recent interview that he expects the Starship to make regular flights by 2023, and hopes to reach orbit by the end of this year.