Space

Watch SpaceX’s Starship SN10 Launch, Land, and Eventually Explode

SpaceX performed a mostly successful test launch and landing of their Starship SN10 launch vehicle early Wednesday morning.

“Similar to the high-altitude flight tests of Starship SN8 and SN9, SN10 will be powered through ascent by three Raptor engines, each shutting down in sequence prior to the vehicle reaching apogee – approximately 10 km in altitude. SN10 will perform a propellant transition to the internal header tanks, which hold landing propellant, before reorienting itself for reentry and a controlled aerodynamic descent.”

The launch occurred at Boca Chica, Texas, and the flight lasted a cool 6 minutes and 24 seconds, reaching a height of about 32,000 feet.

SN10 launch
Image: SpaceX/YouTube

However, eight minutes after landing (which looked like something out of a scifi movie), the Starship prototype just kind of exploded, possibly due to a methane leak.

You could see a fire just at the base of the SN10 before its final landing:

Fire at base of SN10 during landing
Image: SpaceX/YouTube

Prior to the launch on March 3, the SN10 experienced a static fire on February 23 that required an engine swap. Another occurred on February 25. Despite the craft’s ultimate explosion, however, Elon Musk had apparently always given the landing a middling probability of success:

Other than the tremendous fireball at the end (well, after the end, I guess), I’d say it did okay.

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