This will be the fourth prototype of SpaceX’s next-gen Starship rocket which will explode after a test at the company’s Texas test site yesterday. Just few moments later after the prototype engine was ignited, it bursts into flames leaving very little hardware still standing which probably caused damages to the test site in fact.
This failed-test is just a day before SapceX will be performing its launching of the Falcon 9 rocket which will send two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS). The initial launching was rescheduled from Wednesday to today Saturday due to bad weather. The historic mission is set to take place out of Cape Canaveral, Florida with the SpaceX’s falcon 9 which is one of the company’s most successful rocket with more than 100 times delivery under it’s belt.
Although there is no link between the SpaceX’s starship or the Falcon 9 rocket, the company’s CEO, Elon Musk in a statement to Aviation Week did made it known that the company is putting a pause on the development of Starship while the company focuses more on its first crewed flight. “I have redirected SpaceX’s priorities to be very focused on the crew launch” Musk said during a podcast at Aviation Week which was published back on May 26th. “So that’s going to slow things down on the Starship front.”
THE FAILED TEST COMES JUST A DAY BEFORE SPACEX IS SET TO PERFORM A CRITICAL LAUNCH FOR NASA
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As for the exploded starship, it was meant to be the test design for the future Starship which is a giant rocket that SpaceX wants to build in order to be able to send people to deep space destinations such as the Moon and Mars.
There have been varieties of test versions of the Starship being made by the company and the eventual success of one of them will make a remarkable milestone for the company which plans to take humans into the deep space as well as conduct space tourism where people can orbit around the earth.
The company had lost about three of these prototypes in the past during pressurized tests that either caused the vehicle to burst or implode but this starship got further along in the testing process than the other which showed a likely progress. It’s unclear if anyone was hurt in the explosion. SpaceX did not respond to a request for comment before publication.
Assuming the incident didn’t happen, SpaceX’s plan was to fly the vehicle on a low-altitude flight test in the coming days because the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on May 28th granted the company a license to conduct “suborbital reusable launch vehicle missions” with the vehicle out of Boca Chica. The FAA also placed air restrictions over the launch site for June 1st, preventing vehicles from flying below 26,000 feet over the area. Now, those restrictions will likely be lifted as SpaceX works on its next prototype.