Elon Musk’s SpaceX Starship rocket suffered another setback this week after it partially burst apart during pressure testing in Texas.
The Verge reports that Elon Musk’s space exploration firm SpaceX saw another setback when its Starship rocket partially burst apart during a recent ground test in Texas. The rocket’s gas as sent pieces of hardware flying into the sky as livestreams set up by local space enthusiasts captured the entire incident.
A video of the incident can be seen below:
— Chris B – NSF (@NASASpaceflight) November 20, 2019
A SpaceX spokesperson told The Verge in a comment that the rocket bursting apart was not a serious setback stating: “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.”
The latest test was focusing on testing the design of the starship which SpaceX hopes will be capable of transporting cargo and people to deep space destinations such as Mars and the Moon. Musk indicated in September that the test vehicle could be doing flights to low altitudes within months and a version of the Starship would be capable fo reaching Earth orbit within six months.
But after the latest explosion, Musk indicated on twitter that SpaceX may no longer fly this particular prototype of the Starship and will be conducting flight tests with newer models that the firm plans to build. Referring to the latest failed prototype, Musk stated: “This had some value as a manufacturing pathfinder, but flight design is quite different.”
In July of 2019, SpaceX’s Starhopper small-scale test spacecraft exploded into flames after what appeared to be a fuel leak or fuel dump during a static fire test at SpaceX’s facility in Boca Chica, Texas. The Starhopper is a smaller-scale version of a larger spacecraft the firm is currently developing and is designed to test ideas for the larger version. It is expected that the Starhopper will be capable of performing short space flights called “hops.”