(ORDO NEWS) — To realize its ambitious plans to send up to 100 passengers to the moon and Mars in a huge spaceship, SpaceX is testing prototypes.
Today, during the fifth static fire, the fourth Star Ship prototype, called SN4, flared up with a giant fireball at about 2:50 pm ET. Thanks to the live broadcast courtesy of NASASpaceflight, you can watch the structure flare up in flames at the SpaceX test bench in Boca Chica.
— Chris B – NSF (@NASASpaceflight) May 29, 2020
The fact that the early prototype even withstood five static fires is impressive and means a huge step forward in the SpaceX race.
This is the last test. SN1 failed the cryogenic resistance test in February and was destroyed, crumpled like a can of soda. While SN2 passed the test, SN3 was also destroyed due to a test configuration error.
At first it seemed that SN4 passed the fifth static fire test, but after a few minutes it was clear how a thick cloud of gas flowed from the structure. A minute later, the prototype rockets – and the launch pad – were destroyed, leaving only debris. The exact cause is still unknown.
The loss of SN4 is a setback for the Elon Musk space company, but is not an insurmountable problem.
“SpaceX has moved much further with SN4 than with previous prototypes, and SN5 seems ready for testing,” wrote Eric Berger, head of Ars Technica. “We also started work on the second launch pad at Boca Chica.”
“Yes, it is a failure and dramatic,” added Berger. “But this is a process.”
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