It is the second explosion of this type of ship after the one suffered last December by a ship belonging to Elon Musk’s company.
Starship 9, SpaceX’s new rocket prototype, crashed and exploded in flames at the end of a test flight on Tuesday , according to images released by the company founded by Elon Musk.
The spacecraft, which SpaceX tries to take to Mars, took off, ascended about 10 kilometers and when it touched down it exploded creating a large fireball.
“We had another great flight again. We just have to do some work on the landing, ”SpaceX engineer John Insprucker said during the live broadcast.
“We got a lot of good data, and the main objective, to demonstrate the control of the vehicle in the subsonic reentry, seemed to be very good, and we will get a lot out of that,” added the specialist.
Company founder Elon Musk was unusually quiet on social media, after announcing Monday night that he was “off Twitter for a while.”
The rocket was cleared to take off from Boca Chica, Texas, by the Federal Aviation Administration of the United States. Authorities delayed that permit after revealing that the company’s latest launch had violated the terms of its license .
The rocket took off without problems around 3:30 p.m. local time (20:30 GMT) and progressively shut down its engines as it reached a height of 10 kilometers (six miles), then performed a series of test maneuvers in a horizontal “belly flop” position.
It was when the rocket tried to return to the vertical position to land that the problems began, as the images show that it entered too fast and at a bad angle.
It landed with a deafening crash and exploded into bright orange flames and a cloud of dust, but the fire did not spread.
This Tuesday was the second explosion of its kind after the last prototype suffered a similar fate last December.
On December 9, the prototype SN8 spacecraft , as part of a high-altitude suborbital flight test, failed to land successfully and ended up exploding. The test was developed in Cameron County, State of Texas, in the United States.
The goal was to launch the Starship to an altitude of 12.5 kilometers (8 miles) – the highest yet – and then return the spacecraft for a vertical landing. This gentle descent is expected to be without a motor, similar to that of a skydiver.
The company has already conducted five test flights of the Starship, but those previous, simpler models have not climbed more than 150 meters (490 feet). The steel version on Tuesday’s launch pad was the first with a cone nose, body flaps and three Raptor engines.
SpaceX has a facility in Boca Chica, in the extreme southeast of Texas along the border with Mexico, to build and test its Starships. The company plans to use Starship rockets – the stage on Super Heavy boosters – to put large satellites into orbit and to send people and cargo to the moon and to Mars.
This type of transport is made up of two completely reusable elements: a 50-meter stainless steel spaceship, called the Starship, and a giant rocket called the Super Heavy.
For its part, the company founded by Elon Musk announced on Monday its plan to send the first mission into space with an exclusively civilian crew , which represents a great step forward for the company in its ambition to promote private space flights and the incipient space industry. spacial tourism.
The mission will be carried out aboard the Dragon spacecraft, and will have four crew members, with Jared Isaacman , founder of Shift 4 Payments, at the helm. SpaceX announced that the mission will take place during the fourth quarter of the year.
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