So remember that SpaceX Startship SN3 implosion we witnessed back in early April of this year? Today SpaceX SN4 and its Raptor engine took part in a static fire test. The main bit of the test went great… then something went very wrong. NOTE: This explosion has no direct relation to the SpaceX launch still scheduled to take place on May 30, 2020 (tomorrow).
Different launches (not crewed)
You’ll find the Falcon 9 on the pad ready to blast off (for its second try) tomorrow morning if all goes as planned. That launch will not be affected (as far as we’re aware) by the mishap that occurred in Texas. The Falcon 9 launch will take place at the John F Kennedy Space Center at Merrit Island, Florida.
The Starship SN4 explosion
NASA Spaceflight dot com has a video recording of the event thanks to their live feed. You’ll see an embedded player from NASA Spaceflight below – this will be good to access through the end of the day, just scrub back to the point at which the explosion occurred, at around -2:25 on the timeline.
The first three prototype Starship SN models were lost in cryogenic and pressure tests between November 2019 and April 2020. This SN4 model was the first to survive the pressure testing phase and avance to the engine ignition test phase.
This explosion was odd, as the same craft underwent an extremely similar – if not functionally identical – test just yesterday. The SN4 craft also conducted earlier static fire tests with its original Raptor engine. The test today was the third static test fire with the newest iteration of the Raptor engine.
Coming up next, SN5, which is apparently already ready to roll as soon as adjustments are made to account for what’s happened today. Then SN6, just in case. It wouldn’t be a shock to find further full-sized test models in assembly.