SpaceX: Another failed landing for Starship as the rocket breaks apart, but thick fog hides the cause of the explosion, Science & Tech News
SpaceX suffered another failed landing for its prototype Starship starship when the rocket broke in thick fog just before touchdown in Texas.
This was the fourth full-scale stainless steel model launched since December at an altitude of more than ten kilometers.
The previous three exploded on touchdown or shortly thereafter.
According to SpaceX founder Elon Musk, “something significant happened” shortly after landing, but it wasn’t immediately clear what that “something significant” actually was, other than an explosion of debris scattered up to five miles from the landing site.
Thick fog obscured most views of the attempted landing sequence from the ground.
The video from an on-board camera was cut off almost six minutes after the flight began, before parts of the spacecraft and the sounds of small explosions rained over the launch site.
“Should know what it was when we can examine the parts later today,” added Musk.
The company is currently coming through prototypes of its Starship starship at a relatively fast rate. The last test of the model SN10 took place in early March and actually landed successfully before they explode minutes later.
However, the speed at which the company is building and testing the spaceship suggests that the failure will not completely discourage it.
During Tuesday’s test of the rocket, SN11, the spacecraft had climbed to an altitude of 10 km before going back to land – although it appeared to explode before coming back down.
Starship is being developed by billionaire entrepreneur Musk’s private space company to carry people and 100 tons of cargo on future missions to the moon and Mars.
Spaceship, the spaceship itself and the launcher were called the Super Heavy unveiled at the company’s plant on September 2019 in Boca Chica, Texas.
The spaceship is supposed to carry a crew and cargo “to the moon, Mars or anywhere else in the solar system” and land vertically instead of horizontally on earth, Musk said.