A fourth prototype of SpaceX’s subsequent technology Starship rocket exploded proper after a take a look at on the firm’s south Texas take a look at web site on Friday. Shortly after SpaceX ignited the engine on the take a look at rocket, a large fireball engulfed the car in flames, leaving little or no {hardware} nonetheless standing and apparently inflicting harm to the take a look at web site.

The failed take a look at comes only a day earlier than SpaceX is ready to carry out an unrelated launch for NASA that can ship two astronauts to the Worldwide House Station. That historic mission will happen out of Cape Canaveral, Florida, on SpaceX’s workhorse Falcon 9 rocket, which has flown greater than 100 occasions earlier than.

Whereas the failure of the Starship prototype just isn’t linked to the upcoming NASA mission, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk did inform Aviation Week that SpaceX deliberate to place a pause on Starship improvement whereas the corporate centered on its first crewed flight. “I’ve redirected SpaceX’s priorities to be very centered on the crew launch,” Musk told Aviation Week during a podcast interview printed on Might 26th. “In order that’s going to gradual issues down on the Starship entrance.”

The prototype that simply exploded is supposed to check out the design for SpaceX’s future Starship, a large rocket the corporate desires to create to ship individuals to deep house locations just like the Moon and Mars. SpaceX has been constructing varied take a look at variations of the Starship down on the firm’s work web site in Boca Chica, Texas. At the moment, the corporate ignited the primary Raptor engine on the newest Starship prototype whereas holding the car down, a kind of take a look at often known as a static fireplace. It was the fifth static fireplace take a look at SpaceX had performed during the last couple of weeks.

The explosion marks yet one more failure that’s destroyed a Starship prototype. SpaceX already misplaced three earlier take a look at variations of the car throughout pressurized checks that both brought on the autos to burst or implode. This specific Starship obtained additional alongside within the testing course of than the others. With this newest failure, it appears unlikely that something is salvageable, and there appears to be some harm to the realm surrounding the take a look at web site, too. It’s unclear if anybody was harm within the explosion. SpaceX didn’t reply to a request for remark earlier than publication.

Had the Starship prototype remained intact, SpaceX had plans to fly the car on a low-altitude flight take a look at within the coming days. On Might 28th, the Federal Aviation Administration granted SpaceX a license to conduct “suborbital reusable launch car missions” with the car out of Boca Chica. The FAA additionally positioned air restrictions over the launch web site for June 1st, stopping autos from flying under 26,000 toes over the realm. Now, these restrictions will doubtless be lifted as SpaceX works on its subsequent prototype.

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