New day, new round of testing and yes, that results in explosion. SpaceX’s launch facility near Boca Chica, Texas, conducted a high-altitude test flight on 2nd Feb. 2021 with a Starship prototype. almost like the previous test in December, the SN9 was powered by three Raptor engines, flew to an altitude of 10 km (6.2 mi), then attempted another “belly flop” to check out its fins and aerodynamic surfaces.
As always, the event was broadcast via live stream by SpaceX, NASASpaceFlight, LabPadre, and a number of other observers. just like the SN8 test flight, SpaceX’s coverage provided multiple vantage points (landing pad, engine compartment, fuselage, aerial drone, etc.) The flight commenced at 2:25:15 P.M. CST (04:25:15 EST; 12:25:15 PST) when the Starship ignited its three engines and commenced its ascent. By 2:27:00 P.M., around a moment and forty-five seconds into the flight, SN9 began shutting down its three Raptor engines, one at a time. Ground crews announced at four minutes (i.e. 2:29:15 P.M.) that the test vehicle had reached its apogee of 10 km (6.2 mi). All three engines got cut out at 2:29:48 P.M and SN9 began reorienting itself for its “bellyflop” maneuver and descent.
The SN9 enjoyed a stable descent, and at 2:31:35, the bottom crews plan to restart two engines and swing the fuselage back around to form a landing burn (with one engine). Unfortunately, one among the 2 Raptor engines sputtered and did not reignite, which caused the SN9 to overrotate and throw off a bit of debris before landing on its side.
This was slightly different than what happened with the SN8, which also did not restart one engine. At that point, a low-pressure issue occurred after the bottom crews converted to SN8’s fuel header tank. This prevented one among the 2 Raptor engines from reigniting, causing the SN8 to land too hard and explode. it’s unclear at its time what led to the difficulty this point, but it could a gas line, a tank issue, or a drag with the one Raptor.
But then, as now, Musk with its ground controllers at Boca Chica were generally complacent with the results. Considering both cases, the models fasten the ascent, engine shutdown, reorientation, and descent elements of the mission. the sole thing that hasn’t been validated yet is that the switchover during the “flip and burn,” where the engines draw fuel from the header tanks to form their landing burn.
SN10 got no damage in this explosion which was recently brought out and stationed near the SN9 launch pad. this is often especially lucky since the SN10 is now on deck to conduct subsequent high-altitude test. this is often according to SpaceX’s iterative process, where many prototypes are created (sometimes with slight variations in design) and tested to failure to collect the maximum amount data as possible.
These high-altitude tests will validate the planning, flight systems, and re-entry capabilities of the Starship. Once that’s complete, SpaceX will commence orbital test flights which will involve both the Starship and Super Heavy booster. this may be the primary entirely reusable transportation and therefore the most powerful launch vehicle ever developed – capable of lifting quite 100 metric tonnes (110 US tons).
These tests also represent the culmination of the many years of labor with the fulfilment of Elon Musk’s long-term vision to reinvigorate space exploration that involves sending payloads and crews to orbit, to the Moon, and to Mars. Hoping for the things to go better with the SN10 model. At now, all SpaceX needs is to stay the landing and show that the “turn and burn” are often achieved, and it’s, “next stop: orbit!”