SpaceX has successfully carried out a new test of the Starship rocket model SN10, which took off this Wednesday (3) in the skies of the village of Boca Chica, in the North American state of Texas.
The purpose of the test was to take a high-altitude flight and land using the same original structure – a procedure similar to the landing of Falcon rockets, also from SpaceX. The Starship SN10 reached 10 km in altitude before returning to land, spending just over six minutes flying.
This was the first test of the spacecraft that had a successful landing – and this is a risky maneuver, as it involves changing the angle of the rocket “belly down” to its original position, so that it is upright again. The evolution is also notable and rapid: in September 2020, Starship flights were only 150 meters high.
Not everything worked out
However, the test was marked by another event: a few minutes after landing, the SN10 prototype simply exploded, a moment captured by some video broadcasts that accompanied the mission.
Some flames were already visible the moment after landing, but it is still not possible to determine what caused the accident. Methane leakage is one of the alternatives that arise from speculation.
However, SpaceX does not see the explosion as a fiasco, but rather as a great sign that the previous obstacle – making the return maneuver and landing efficiently. The SN9 model exploded during this procedure in early February this year, the same destination as the SN8, which took off in December 2020. The SN4 and SN3 models caught fire during endurance and engine tests.
The next models of the SN line are already under construction for further altitude tests. SpaceX’s idea is to use the Starship to carry out orbital missions on the Moon and Mars, starting with our natural satellite in 2023.