BOCA CHICA, Texas – SpaceX’s Starship SN 9 exploded Tuesday while landing during a test flight at the company’s facility in Boca Chica, Texas.
Despite the spectacular end, SpaceX said it considers the test to be a success because of the data that they were able to collect.
The commenting SpaceX engineer, John Insprucker, said all parts of the test went as planned, including the ascent, engines powering up, the spacecraft reaching the desired 10 kilometer altitude and the aerodynamic freefall. He said that just before landing, it appeared there was an issue with one of the engines.
“So all told, another great (flight) and a reminder: this is a test flight, the second time we’ve launched Starship in this configuration,” Insprucker said. “We’ve got a lot of good data and (achieved) the primary objective to demonstrate control of the vehicle and the subsonic re-entry.”
The test was very similar to the SN 8 test a couple of months ago, which included the aerodynamically controlled freefall with an onboard computer directing the flaps on the spacecraft. That test also ended with an explosion during the landing phase.
SpaceX admitted there is more work to do on how to successfully land the Starship.
Starship SN 10 sits on another pad in Boca Chica awaiting its maiden flight.
CNN reported that the Federal Aviation Administration plans to investigate the SN 9 explosion.
You can watch a replay of the test flight below: