Another Starship prototype exploded Tuesday morning during an attempt to nail a tricky landing technique at SpaceX’s test launch facilities in Texas. The landing attempt followed a clean liftoff and a demonstration of the rocket’s autonomous in-flight maneuvers, marking SpaceX’s fourth high-altitude flight since December.
The SN11 rocket launched at 9AM ET in foggy weather at SpaceX’s Boca Chica, Texas facilities, soaring roughly 6.2 miles in the company’s fourth high-altitude test flight. Like past prototype tests, SN11 demonstrated a clean firing of three Raptor engines and autonomous control of the aerodynamic flaps that steer its descent back to land.
A live camera feed aboard SN11 froze moments before its landing attempt. Another feed, provided by the website NASA Spaceflight, showed large chunks of debris raining on SpaceX’s Boca Chica facilities, though the landing explosion itself was obscured by fog.
“Looks like we had another exciting test,” SpaceX’s John Insprucker said on SpaceX’s live stream, suggesting the vehicle was lost in another eventful landing attempt. “We do appear to have lost all the data from the vehicle, and the team of course is away from the landing pad.”
Final view of SN11 in the air:
— Chris B – NSF (@NASASpaceflight) March 30, 2021
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