Science 2 min read

SpaceX's Prototype Starship Bursts During a Ground Test

IrinaK /

IrinaK /

Yesterday, SpaceX‘s prototype Starship was damaged during a ground test in Texas. But, the company claims that the setback was minor, and would not affect its development plans.

It’s no secret that Elon Musk has been working on a monster spacecraft to transport cargo and people to space destinations like Mars.

Back in September, the CEO showed off a prototype Starship to reporters. At the time, Musk laid out a timeline that involved the spacecraft flying into low altitudes within a couple of months and reaching the Earth’s orbit in six months.

“This thing is going to take off, fly to 65,000 feet, about 20 kilometers, and come back and land, in about one or two months,” he had said.

Now, the timeline will almost certainly change, and here’s why.

An Exploding Prototype Starship

On Wednesday, SpaceX was conducting a pressurization test at its Boca Chica, Texas site, when the next-generation launch system burst apart.

According to videos from observers, the eruption sent the bulkhead of the vehicle soaring into the sky while plumes of gas followed. Several seconds later, the piece of hardware was seen falling back to the Earth.

Reports suggest that the vehicle was undergoing a series of tests that could lead to an initial suborbital flight in the near future.

In a statement to the press, a SpaceX spokesperson said:

“The purpose of today’s test was to pressurize systems to the max, so the outcome was not completely unexpected. There were no injuries, nor is this a serious setback.”

Shortly after the incident, Musk tweeted that the company would move on another prototype Starship – the Mark 3. He had previously estimated that the Boca Chica team would complete the second prototype in three months.

Also, a separate SpaceX team in Florida is working another prototype called the Mark 2. However, the company has not disclosed its plans for the spacecraft.

Read More: Scientists Claim SpaceX’s Starlink Satellites a Threat to Astronomy

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Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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