- SpaceX’s Starship prototype SN4 exploded during a static fire test on Friday, just hours before Crew Dragon’s second launch attempt.
- The two projects are completely different and the explosion had no effect on the NASA mission.
- Video of the explosion shows the rocket prototype that melts what appears to be oxygen just before the explosion destroys the vehicle.
SpaceX had an incredibly eventful weekend. Its Crew Dragon capsule traveled to the International Space Station and for the first time ever had astronauts on the trip. It was a huge achievement for SpaceX and a very big thing for NASA, who desperately wants the ability to send people into space whenever it wants.
Unfortunately, not everything turned in SpaceX̵
Testing SpaceX’s vehicles is not something that is generally open to the public, but it does not stop SpaceX enthusiasts from jumping down and recording some of the company’s efforts remotely. NASASspaceflight is one of these groups, and it recorded a live video stream from the static fire test and captures the incredible explosion in all its glory.
The video is pretty wild. It begins with the preparation of the prototype vehicle for its static fire test and offers comments from NASASspaceflight enthusiasts who know a lot about these types of events. Everything seems to go smoothly until the test area is flooded with some kind of smoke or steam.
The observers comment that they have never seen such a thing during a static fire test before and begin to suggest possible explanations. They discuss whether it can be oxygen or methane, and just moments later the entire vehicle explodes, leaving almost nothing left in its place.
It is actually a bit fun to hear the comments as the observers try to identify what has been left after the big boom. They offer their own theories of what may have gone wrong and pick the wreckage from a distance based on what they can see. What they definitely can’t see is the SpaceX Starship prototype that seemed to disappear in thin air.
At this point, it is still unclear what caused the Starship prototype to explode in such a way. An investigation will be conducted, which is always the case when something similar happens, and SpaceX will try to get to the bottom of it. However, this is exactly why this type of testing is conducted, and spectacular errors right now mean less risk of similar errors on the road.