Elon Musk’s starship prototype, known as SN8, recently lifted with a target to fly to a height of 12.5 kilometers. However, after flying over the Gulf of Mexico, it landed back with a massive explosion. Though the actual height the Starship reached has not been announced yet, Musk seems to be satisfied with the results.
He explained on Twitter, “Fuel header tank pressure was low during landing burn, causing touchdown velocity to be high and RUD (Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly).” He further congratulated his team, “Congrats SpaceX team hell yeah!!” Musk also emphasized their ultimate goal, “This is the gateway to Mars. Mars, here we come!!”
Watch The Video Of The Explosion Below
The video shows how the Starship takes a clean launch. However, the horizontal descent that was initially planned overturned when it turned to the vertical. As the ship got closer to the ground, the engines fired up. Also, despite its attempt to slow down, it blasted off in a massive cloud of fire and smoke. Elon Musk, the US entrepreneur had already dusted high expectations stating such accidents are likely to happen.
The fully developed Starship is the future of the SpaceX Company and it is expected to be completed in six years. It is a “fully reusable transportation system designed to carry both crew and cargo to Earth orbit, the Moon, Mars and beyond.” It is estimated that the Starship spacecraft will be able to carry over 100 metric tonnes to the Earth’s orbit.
The SN8 that lifted off SpaceX’s Cameron County launch pad on Wednesday, December 9, reached its highest ever, which is around 100 times higher than the previous launches. Before flipping on its side and cruising back to earth, it attained its highest point over the Gulf of Mexico. After taking off without any issues, the spacecraft was expected to fly to a height of around 12.5 kilometers. This height is almost 100 times larger than previous missions.
In 2019, the Raptor engine became “the first full-flown staged combustion rocket engine ever flown.” It has a diameter of 1.3m and stands at a height of 3.1m. Three of the methane burning Raptor engines were fitted into SN8. Other prototypes, namely SN9 (Starship Serial Number 9) are already prepared to begin its missions.