SpaceX's Starship is the first fully reusable spacecraft that will be used to carry up to 100 tonnes of cargo into space. With the ambitious goal of setting foot on Mars one day, the aerospace manufacturing company is developing Starship at an accelerated rate with prototypes after prototypes being tested each month to distinguish the final one. On March 30, Starship SN11, the fourth prototype, was launched at 6:30 pm IST, carried to an altitude of 32,000 ft before exploding at Boca Chica.
Many spectators were witnessing the launch live but five minutes into the video, the stream froze and only resumed by the time SN11 had crashed into the launch pad. Many couldn't clearly make out what went wrong. A separate live stream from NASASpaceflight caught the action in the final moments during which a loud blast was recorded that managed to rip apart the launch pad.
SpaceX founder Elon Musk took to Twitter to address what happened to SN11 and how it exploded. In a thread of tweets, he wrote - "Looks like engine 2 had issues in ascent and didn't reach operating chamber pressure during landing burn but in theory, it wasn't needed. Something significant happened shortly after landing burn starts. Should know what it was once we can examine the bits later today."
Looks like engine 2 had issues on ascent & didn’t reach operating chamber pressure during landing burn, but, in theory, it wasn’t needed.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 30, 2021
Something significant happened shortly after landing burn start. Should know what it was once we can examine the bits later today.
He followed it up with a humorous tweet, saying, "At least the crater is in the right place." Even though the launch cannot be classified as a success, it must be noted that the rocket did not miss the launchpad despite the poor weather conditions. This is because the SN11 was ready with a radar-based launch system. Check out the SN11 explosion video here -
While talking about SN11, Elon Musk also gave an insight into future projects. The next batch of spacecraft, named Starship SN15 or Serial Number 15, will fly from Boca Chica in a few days. In the meantime, the launchpad will be cleared from the debris and any damage to the facilities that may have happened due to the explosion will be repaired. Musk said that the latest rocket will sport "hundreds of design improvements across structures, avionics/software & engine" to avoid what happened with SN11.