Another explosion occurred during tests of the space company SpaceX.
A prototype of the Starship spacecraft, which must carry out future flights to Mars, exploded shortly after landing.
Here’s the good news: The SpaceX prototype launched from South Texas on Wednesday, climbed six miles, rolled sideways as planned, and sank back to Earth in a high-altitude swan dive, turned back vertically, and then successfully landed near the launch pad. The bad news: A few minutes later, it exploded into a spectacular fireball.
After two similar tests were completed, with Starships SN8 and SN9 failing to slow enough before landing and exploding on impact, SpaceX tried a new technique for landing SN10. All three rocket engines at the bottom of the 49 meters tall and 9 meters wide machine ignited as the rocket turned back vertically by itself before touch-down; the rocket also managed to slow down enough to make a soft landing. In SpaceX’s YouTube show, John Insprucker, the company’s chief integration engineer, declared the landing a success and shut down the live stream.
He emphasized, as SpaceX often does, that the success of a test is determined by the data collected, not by the perfect landing.
“SpaceX team is doing great work! One day, the true measure of success will be that Starship flights are commonplace,” Musk tweeted.
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While it is a very impressive feat to conduct a controlled landing, one is reminded that the mass of extra fuel and landing gear necessary for a soft landing takes away from launch payload capacity. There are some basic reasons to continue to use expendable rockets.