Rocket booster explodes in flames at SpaceX plant during test run

New Delhi: A booster rocket developed by Elon Musk’s SpaceX for its next-generation Starship spacecraft burst into flames during ground-test firing in Texas on Monday, showing potential for Musk’s aim to launch Starship into orbit this year. Shocked.

“Yeah, not really good. The team is assessing the damage,” Musk said on Twitter after the evening explosion of the Super Heavy Booster 7 prototype, as seen in a livestream recorded by the NASA spaceflight website.

There was no immediate sign of injuries.

The explosion, in a ball of flames and heavy smoke that engulfed the base of the rocket and shook the video camera, was typical of the engine spin start test, Musk said Tuesday.

“Going forward, we will not conduct spin start tests with all 33 engines at once,” he said on Twitter.

The booster stood upright, later hitting a test gantry.

The failure came in the middle of a day-long static fire test campaign in Boca Chica, Texas of the booster, which is equipped with an array of 33 Raptor engines for use in SpaceX’s upcoming uncrewed orbital test flight, which is expected to launch later this year. hopefully.

SpaceX’s entire Starship, which together with its super-heavy first-stage booster will measure 394 feet (120 meters) long, is the company’s next-generation launch vehicle to make manned spaceflight at the center of Musk’s ambitions. Travel more affordable and regularly.

SpaceX did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment on Monday’s explosion.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) also did not immediately respond when asked if it would investigate the explosion.

In late 2020 and early 2021, SpaceX lost four prototypes of the Starship itself in a series of high-altitude testing when return landing attempts ended in explosions. The Starship prototype finally made a safe touchdown in May 2021.