SpaceX’s Starship prototype landed for the first time after a high-altitude test flight Wednesday but exploded shortly thereafter.
The prototype, Starship rocket Serial Number 10, was not carrying any passengers or crew at the time of the explosion, according to CNBC. Two previous test prototypes have exploded on impact while attempting to land, although after first completing objectives like aerodynamics tests and engine shutdowns.
The SN10 flight successfully fired all of its three engines and shut them down in sequence and was able to slow its engines down enough to land, while the earlier test flights exploded after they were unable to slow down in time. The cause of the explosion this time around remains unknown.
“The Texas team has several more suborbital test vehicles in build, with number 11 ready to roll out to the pad in the very near future,” SpaceX principal integration engineer John Insprucker said, according to CNBC.
STARSHIP LANDS!— Michael Sheetz (@thesheetztweetz) March 3, 2021
Prototype SN10 successfully flipped and stuck the landing, the first Starship prototype to do so after the previous two rockets exploded. https://t.co/HE4qqif4AI #SpaceX pic.twitter.com/RD3saE2oFZ
SpaceX CEO Elon MuskElon Reeve MuskSpaceX sending first all-civilian crew into orbit Elon Musk's SpaceX vs. the environmentalists Biden seeks to build Democratic support among unions MORE has said the company is still “highly confident” the crafts will be safe enough to carry passengers by 2023, although development and testing only began in 2019. Japanese billionaire and Zozo CEO Yusaku Maezawa, who has purchased a private space flight to the moon set for 2023, said Tuesday morning that he will invite eight others to join him for the flight.