One of SpaceX’s shiny Starship prototypes suffered a complete meltdown during a pressure test on Saturday. During that test, in which prototype was pressurizing its systems “to the max,” the Starship quite literally blew its top, sending a massive cloud of steam billowing from the test pad, The Verge reported.
The exact cause of the prototype failure is not known so far but the investigation has started. Following the space machine blew its top, SpaceX CEO took to Twitter to offer his own predictions for what may have gone wrong.
In fact, Elon Musk doesn’t get into the specifics, saying that the crew “will see what data review says in the morning,” however he does note that the failure “may have been a test configuration mistake.” Normally, the corporation has never been shy about its shortcomings during testing so Musk’s fans can expect to hear more about it sooner rather than later.
The result was what appeared to be the total destruction of the Starship SN3 prototype as it completely collapsed into a crumpled pile of twisted metal. The event, which was captured by observers, is kind of neat to watch, but it obviously isn’t what SpaceX had in mind.
As the experts suppose, this particular prototype was already exhibiting some troubling behaviour prior to the test that ultimately claimed its life. Commenting on the negative result, Musk wrote on Twitter that “Some valves leaked at cryo temp,” prior to the pressure test and that the crew was “fixing & will retest soon.” That retest was ultimately the end of the road for the prototype, but these kinds of results are exactly why these tests are run in the first place.
SpaceX, another failure while testing
According to Musk’s plans, the future versions of Starship will travel to other planetary systems. That’s some seriously dreaming on the part of the company, but there’s no telling what the future holds.
Now, if any of this sounds strangely familiar to you, it’s not deja vu. An earlier SpaceX Starship prototype suffered a similar fate way back in November of 2019. During the most recent test, in which SpaceX said it was pressurizing its systems “to the max,” the Starship quite literally blew its top, sending a massive cloud of steam billowing from the test pad.
Starship is SpaceX’s big bet on the future of space exploration. The company envisions its flashy vehicle to one day travel to new planets, including Mars, even going so far as to draw up concepts of settlements on the Red Planet where Starship spacecraft make regular trips back and forth to Earth.