A SpaceX Starship upper stage prototype that was built to function as a pathfinder for the California based private American aerospace manufacturer blew up its top during a pressurisation test, at the manufacturer's Boca Chica, Texas, launch complex. The prototype which was undergoing a test minus its conical nose section was set up in an upright position as vapour from a damaged tank came out and on the sides of the vehicle.
According to reports, it was thought that the lower bulkhead had failed as well but there was no immediate confirmation. Founder of SpaceX founder Elon Musk said that the motive behind the test was to pressurize systems to the maximum level. He added that the failed test was not a setback for the company and added that the outcome was not completely unexpected.
Starship MK-1 appears to have blown its top off during a pressure test today. My guess... this will be a good time for @spacex to move onto their next, more refined and higher quality versions (MK-2/3) instead of reparing MK-1. @elonmusk, any chance you’ll just move onto MK-3?— Everyday Astronaut (@Erdayastronaut) November 20, 2019
Musk had revealed the Starship prototype also called the Mark 1 during an event at the Boca Chica test facility on September 28 and added that the SpaceX will launch on a test flight within a few months. The founder added that the prototype will surely take off and fly to a total of 65,000 feet, about 20 kilometres and come back to earth in a span of one or two months.
However, in a statement, the Elon musk founded company stated that a decision was taken before the test on November 20 to use the Mark 1 prototype and instead they will work on a more complete version that will be designed to reach the orbit.
The SpaceX starship will serve the purpose of carrying passengers and circle the earth's orbit, the moon and a potential circuit around Mars. The spacecraft will be powered by six methane-burning Raptor engines and will need a huge booster codenamed Super Heavy to reach the orbit and complete its flight path. According to reports, the Super Heavy booster will be powered with a total of 37 methane-burning Raptor engines.
With a height of 400 feet, the Starship vehicle will be replacing Falcon 9 and the Falcon Heavy rockets along with the Crew Dragon spacecraft that is being manufactured by the company to carry astronauts to the International Space Station and back to earth.
The aerospace manufacturer is building another spacecraft codenamed Mark 2 at a manufacturing base that is in close proximity to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida alongside a launch stand at the NASA spaceport. Also, a spacecraft codenamed Mark 3 will be at the Boca Chica test complex.
With the proposal of building the Mark 3 coming to light, Elon Musk stated that the Mark 3 will be a significant upgrade to the Mark1 spacecraft.
Absolutely, but to move to Mk3 design. This had some value as a manufacturing pathfinder, but flight design is quite different.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 20, 2019
(With inputs from agencies)