SpaceX’s Starship spacecraft made its highest flight yet then exploded

Starship crash

Starship launched efficiently however didn’t land in a single piece

REUTERS/Gene Blevins

SpaceX’s Starship made its highest ever flight on 9 December, earlier than blowing up because it touched down on the touchdown pad in Boca Chica, Texas.

Starship is the spacecraft that SpaceX plans to make use of to hold astronauts to the moon and sometime possibly to Mars. Varied Starship prototypes have undergone extensive testing, however the highest any of them has ever flown is about 150 metres.

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Yesterday’s flight of the Starship SN8 prototype was deliberate to go as excessive as 12.5 kilometres, though SpaceX hasn’t but confirmed whether or not the spacecraft achieved this. SN8 was greater than 50 metres tall, 9 metres in diameter and formed like an enormous water tower, so even getting it into the sky was fairly a feat.

After the spacecraft launched, its three engines turned off one by one to show it sidewise right into a “stomach flop” place as a part of the deliberate take a look at flight. Moments later, because the spacecraft gave the impression to be falling from the sky, the engines fired once more, bringing it again to vertical simply earlier than it reached the touchdown pad.

The craft slowed down whereas approaching the bottom, however because it touched down, SN8 was engulfed in an infinite fireball. It isn’t clear why, however the spacecraft appeared to come back down too quick, which might have precipitated the . That drawback should be mounted earlier than Starship could be blasted into orbit.

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