SpaceX launched its new starship prototype for the next-generation on the 3rd of March. The vehicle’s launch went well, and the landing was well done, too, smoother than its previous two launches. But after that, it exploded just a couple of minutes later. The starship was launched from the firm’s Texas testing site yesterday. It is called SN10, following its previous predecessors SN8 and SN9, which also followed the same fate, just a little earlier in compared time rates.
It was lifted at 6:15 in the evening from its launch spot. Three hours before the actual launch, the launch was set and then aborted. The reason cited for it was a mild “conservative high” limit for thrust. This was tweeted by the Chief Executive Officer, Elon Musk, who also is the founder.
SpaceX Previous Starship Prototypes
SpaceX’s previous 2 starships also faced the same problem and ended up blown by the end of their trial. Both the sisters of SN10, which launched back on December 9th as well as February 2nd, for SN8 and SN9, respectively. SN10 reached its peak goal in the air— at a 10-kilometer altitude. There, its three engine Raptors were shut down while ascending in a sequence. It then followed suit with “belly flop” to get into a horizontal orientation and then get back to the landing pad it was launched from.
With its other starships, SpaceX was facing problems when it came to reigniting 2 of its engine Raptors which was needed for a power-landing. This was after it flipped to its vertical orientation. With the SN10, the company took a different route. They reignited all the engines this time around. And the procedure included shutting the engines as they would require while landing. And the landing attempt seemed to be successful this time.
Initially, things seemed fine. Everything was working well. Unlike the previous vehicles, it landed rather softly on the landing pad. It did not explode or crash at all. But it did not remain the same. About 20 seconds and 6 minutes after its initial liftoff, the starship landed. It seemed to be leaning slightly, although it was also intact.
SN10’s Final Moments Before Explosion
SpaceX’s webcast for the flight and landing was being telecasted and hosted by one of the firm’s engineers. His name is John Insprucker. He, too, initially, following the success, was excited. On the webcast, by the time the company had already terminated it, he spoke about the success online. She said, quoting the popular saying— that the third attempt at anything is a charm. This simply means how if the first or second attempts do not work out, the third often does.
He ended the webcast by calling the landing of Starship SN10 “beautiful” and said it was a “soft landing.” He also then said the landing was on its pad based in Boca Chica, in Texas. Even with the web show then turned off, there were independent webcasts still on in the area. And the visuals that followed were not as beautiful as the landing.
Approximately 8 minutes following the soft and smooth landing of the vehicle, there was a reported explosion at the bottom of the starship. The blast was huge enough to fling the vehicle back into the air. But then, seconds later, it landed on the ground. Following the explosion, none of the firm or representatives made a statement about it. But a couple of minutes before the blast happened, webcasts showed that there were people throwing water through hoses.
SpaceX Has Already Prepared SN11
The engineer from SpaceX, John Insprucker, spoke about the next starship prototype. The host of the webcast mentioned that the following vehicle was already “ready.” It is also reportedly available to be “rolled out” on the launch pad in the “near future.”
The flight occurred just shy after one day after the first consumer of Starship opened up about new plans for his mission. Yukasu Maezawa, a Japanese billionaire, back in 2018 September mentioned his purchase of one vehicle from the flights. The vehicle was known as BFR back in the day. It would be used for a 2023 trip with a circumlunar destination.
The mission is widely known as ‘dearMoon.’ The vehicle booked could carry about 8 ‘artists.’ He also called up on a contest open to the public to join him for the dearMoon mission. In a video, he mentioned how he felt that everyone who creates anything could be called an “artist.” He went on to say that if one sees oneself as an artist, then that is what they are.
Maezawa’s dearMoon And Elon Musk’s Video
For the contest held by Maezawa, there is a website up for pre-registration. There will also be several assignments and then a follow-up interview with the willing participants. By June’s end, the names of the crew members are expected to be announced.
There were no other details about the new project provided by Maezawa.
He also mentioned that there would be 10-12 people assisting him in the flight. But none of them were left named, and no disclosure was given by him.
SpaceX’s Elon Musk is also in the video for a short span. In the video, he spoke about how Starship would definitely be ready to make a journey around the moon by the year 2023. He has been one of the forefront people to take earthlings to Mars and the Moon. And has worked tirelessly to achieve that.
About the project, dearMoon, he mentioned that he was “highly confident” about the fact that they will orbit the Moon with Starship “many times.” He also added that it would all be “safe enough” to transport human beings by 2023.
In the video, Marwaza also mentioned that he was “a little scared.” But he then added to that. He noted that he was more curious than worried, even saying that he trusted SpaceX and its founder, Elon Musk. He also said he had faith in SpaceX’s teamwork as well as the Technological prowess of the firm.
SpaceX’s History Of Failed Prototypes
With SpaceX, it is their third failed practice in a row. It began last year in December, when SN8 was launched and then landed badly. It was also followed by SN9 back in February. The launch was still successful, but at the time of landing, with perhaps some miscalculations with the engines, the dock ended up in a massive blow-up.
SN10, obviously, has followed suit. It hence, remains a question as to what will Elon Musk and SpaceX do with their next prototype? It was confirmed that SN11, the next prototype, was already up for the next slot of flight.