SpaceX’s failed test saw the top of the rocket blown off, sending plumes of gas into the air. Thankfully the rocket was unmanned during the test, and no-one was hurt
It was tipped to begin test flights by the end of 2019, but SpaceX ’s Starship rocket has suffered a huge setback following a disastrous test.
The monster spacecraft partially exploded during a ground test in Boca Chica, Texas – and the whole thing was caught on camera by local space enthusiasts.
The failed test saw the top of the rocket blown off, sending plumes of gas into the air.
Thankfully the rocket was unmanned during the test, and no-one was hurt.
Speaking to The Verge , a spokesperson for SpaceX said: “The purpose of today’s test was to pressurize systems to the max, so the outcome was not completely unexpected.
“There were no injuries, nor is this a serious setback.”
Starship is SpaceX’s enormous spacecraft that’s designed to carry cargo and people into deep space in the future.
Back in September, Elon Musk , CEO of SpaceX claimed that test flights in low altitude could begin within the next couple of months, while Starship could reach orbit within six months.
However, the failed test casts doubt on these ambitious timelines.
While Musk hasn’t specifically commented on the failed test, in a reply to tweet about it, he confirmed that SpaceX is now focusing its efforts on a new prototype for the Starship, called MK-3.
He said: “[Mk-1] had some value as a manufacturing pathfinder, but flight design is quite different.”
Once deployed, Starship will be the world’s most powerful launch vehicle, according to SpaceX.
On its website it explained: “ Starship will be the world’s most powerful launch vehicle ever developed, with the ability to carry in excess of 100 metric tonnes to Earth orbit.
“Drawing on an extensive history of launch vehicle and engine development programs, SpaceX has been rapidly iterating on the design of Starship with orbital-flight targeted for 2020.”
The rocket measures a whopping 50 metres in height and nine metres in diameter, and is full reusable.
It’s fitted with a Raptor engine – a full-flow, staged combustion engine that’s powered by cryogenic methane and liquid oxygen (LOX), rather than the RP-1 kerosene and LOX used in SpaceX’s prior Merlin engine family.