Since 2020, when SpaceX first tested launching the Starship, many explosions have occurred both in the air and on the ground.
The Starship/Super Heavy ship system, a vehicle developed by SpaceX to realize Elon Musk’s dream of building a human settlement on Mars, exploded during a test on November 18, Business Insider reported. This is the second test with a combined system consisting of a Starship mounted on top of a Super Heavy booster rocket, creating the world’s most powerful launch system. Testing reached a new level when the system flew higher than before and the Starship successfully separated with the Super Heavy booster for the first time, although the Super Heavy later exploded in the sky.
Experts are currently unclear about the exact cause of the failure on November 18. However, the rocket explosion occurred after a stage called “hot staging” that SpaceX first tested. This method was used to separate the Starship and the Super Heavy rocket after takeoff.
This was not the only explosion that occurred during testing of the Starship/Super Heavy launch system. SpaceX first tested the Starship’s takeoff and landing capabilities in 2020, and many prototypes exploded during ascent or landing.
During the first test flight on December 9, 2020, the Starship prototype named SN8 flew about 11 km above the test facility in Texas. It hovered aloft for about 30 seconds, then turned off its engine and fell in a horizontal position. SN8 re-ignited its engines in an attempt to straighten up and land but failed. The ship crashed onto the concrete landing pad and exploded.
The next prototype, SN9, met a similar fate on February 2, 2021. This time, it appeared an engine failure caused the ship to tilt sideways and collide with the concrete platform, exploding the remaining fuel.
The third prototype, SN10, landed intact on March 3, 2021. However, some sparks appeared at the base of the SN10 spacecraft and about 10 minutes after landing, a sudden explosion occurred, knocking the rocket high into the air and then falling back to the ground.
Later that month, on March 30, 2021, the SN11 prototype also exploded on SpaceX’s fourth attempt, creating a rain of debris. SpaceX ended the live broadcast before this happened, but images from NASASpaceflight show debris scattered around the smoke-filled launch pad. Finally, SpaceX successfully landed the 5th prototype without any explosion on May 5, 2021.
SpaceX will likely go through a similar process with the Starship/Super Heavy combined system and there will be many more explosions before this massive launch system reaches space. The test on November 18 was the second failure of this launch system. The previous test took place about 7 months ago, the Starship did not separate from the Super Heavy rocket, fell and exploded into a fireball about 3 minutes after launch.
Thu Thao (According to Business Insider)