SpaceX’s Starship SN4 prototype exploded during an engine test at the company’s facilities in southern Texas (United States) on Friday (29), generating a huge fireball. The spacecraft had performed the same type of experiment yesterday, without any problems.
The blast occurred at about 2 pm local time, shortly after the Raptor propellant was triggered, according to Space.com. In this experiment, known as static firing, the engine is started with the spacecraft attached to the structure on the ground, without taking off.
After starting without any major problems, the test seemed to be going well, until suddenly the explosion occurred. For now, there is no information on the causes of the failure that occurred. See the moment when the Starship SN4 explodes, in the following video:
The prototype that exploded was the fourth version of the Starship spacecraft. It had withstood five static shots, meaning a breakthrough in SpaceX’s race to develop the launch technology with which Elon Musk plans to take man to the Moon and also to Mars.
Previous versions also had problems
Versions of the Starship ship tested before SN4 also failed. SN1, for example, exploded during a nitrogen pressurization test, carried out in February. SN2 corrected the errors of the first, but SN3 ended up being destroyed while being tested.
In its next version, the spacecraft’s prototype will need to repair the failures that occurred in the SN4 to carry out the next stage safely, already authorized by the American government: an unmanned flight at 150 meters altitude, returning to the launch base.
When the project is finalized, the definitive version of the Starship will be able to transport 100 people on long trips through space, driven by the Super Heavy rocket.