Elon Musk founded and led SpaceX’s futuristic Starship SN10 looked like it aced a touchdown on Wednesday, and just when fans were rejoicing, the rocket exploded minutes after landing. The prototype SN10 took off from Boca Chica, Texas, reached its predetermined altitude of 10 kilometers, descended horizontally, and landed upright over the Gulf of Mexico. But minutes, after it looked like SN10, aced its touchdown, the rocket exploded and opened the floodgate of memes and jokes on Twitter.
Unlike the previous prototypes that exploded before it carried a safe touchdown, SN10 remained intact till the last phase which prompted SpaceX to declare the test flight a success. However, just a few minutes later, the bullet-shaped rocket was tossed upwards and slammed on the ground with fumes of fire around it. According to reports, a leak in the propellant tank may have been the reason for the explosion.
The Starship prototype’s new high-altitude test took place in Texas on Wednesday after several delays postponed the experiment. Before the explosion occurred, Musk was quoted saying, “SpaceX team is doing great work! One day, the true measure of success will be that Starship flights are commonplace,” noting how the previous three launches were a failure.
However, despite the explosion, it was reported that the latest test was a new benchmark that signified progress that was made in the development of Starship by SpaceX.
SpaceX owner and a Twitter personality in his own right, Elon Musk tweeted after the explosion and wrote “RIP SN10, honourable discharge.”
RIP SN10, honorable discharge
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 4, 2021
Internet’s reaction to SpaceX SN10 Explosion:
— Ivan Toneff – AstroKid (@astro_toneff) March 4, 2021
— Christian Aichner (@realaichner) March 3, 2021
— Mithcair (@mithcair) March 3, 2021
— FahSky 👽🤍 (@piangfa) March 4, 2021
— Melanie⚔️ (@melaniemadri) March 4, 2021
Long Live Starship SN10- Third time, not a charm
This was the third test for the Mars-bound starship and as the evidence suggests, the third time wasn’t a charm for Musk and SpaceX. The SN10 faced the same consequences as the previous prototypes that had similar designs. Ahead of the flight, SpaceX had stated that the test of aerodynamic descent with body flaps was critical to Starship’s landing at destinations that are spread across the solar system where surfaces and runways are not present.
Despite the explosion, the test is a signal that indicates the progress made to the vehicle that will serve a vision that no other vehicle carries. Previously, a starship prototype slammed on the ground on December 9 and burnt in a fireball. This was followed by a similar consequence the second prototype suffered in January. The latest and third high-altitude test reported no fatalities or injuries.
According to SpaceX founder Elon Musk, Starship will be used as a shuttle to transport as many as 12 people around the Moon by 2023, land NASA astronauts on the Moon’s surface, and eventually, help explorers settle on Mars. For now, SpaceX is working towards preparing the Starship for the first orbital flight scheduled to occur later this year.
In a video released by Japanese entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa, who was in the news for inviting 8 people to join a fun holiday around the Moon, Musk said, “I’m highly confident that we will have reached orbit many times with Starship before 2023, and that it will be safe enough for human transport by 2023. It’s looking very, very promising.”
The Starship is a stainless-steel, fully reusable rocket that can carry more than 100 tons of deep-space mission material to the Moon and Mars. The bullet-shaped futuristic rocketship is designed to serve as a hypersonic vehicle that will reduce travel times from Earth to other planetary objects.
The Starship is 160 feet (49 meters) high and has a diameter of 30-foot. It is capable of carrying with it as many as 100 passenger.