WATCH: SpaceX Starship EXPLODES while attempting to land during high-altitude test
A SpaceX prototype Starship SN9 has exploded after crashing down on its landing pad during a high-altitude test of the vehicle from the company’s site in southern Texas on Tuesday.
Touchdown...#Starship#SN9@SpaceXpic.twitter.com/mStYzVpZKs— Geoff Barrett 🚀 (@GeoffdBarrett) February 2, 2021
Ahead of the launch, the company said the Starship would be powered by three of its Raptor engines before they shut off sequentially at a height of 10km.
The Starship was then due to land back down “under active aerodynamic control” before the engines powered back on to flip it into a vertical position for touchdown.
While the spacecraft appeared to reach altitude without a hitch, something seems to have gone wrong when it attempted to flip back into the upright position, with the vehicle ultimately smashing down onto the landing pad at a tilt.
Live feed of Starship SN9 flight test → https://t.co/Hs5C53qBxbhttps://t.co/ioM0D5J91I— SpaceX (@SpaceX) February 2, 2021
According to the aerospace firm, the maneuver is a critical element for landing the craft “at destinations across the solar system where prepared surfaces or runways do not exist” before later returning back to Earth.
“This capability will enable a fully reusable transportation system designed to carry both crew and cargo on long-duration, interplanetary flights and help humanity return to the Moon, and travel to Mars and beyond,” SpaceX said in a statement ahead of Tuesday’s test.Also on rt.com SpaceX Starship prototype EXPLODES during attempted landing (VIDEO)
In December, the Starship SN8 exploded on landing after its test flight.
The company is developing the Starship as a vehicle for carrying both humans and cargo on future missions to the Moon, Mars and potentially further afield.
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