SpaceX Starship Prototype Crashes After Successful Flight, Next Test Could Come This Month

SpaceX’s Starship prototype exploded Tuesday during a test flight.

The prototype, SN9, conducted a successful launch, but lost thrust on its descent and crashed into the ground. The test was almost identical to the test of the SN8 prototype, which also experienced a failure seconds before it crashed.

The Starship is intended to be SpaceX’s vehicle to Mars. The purpose of SN9 was to collect data on the booster’s unique landing technique – a belly-flop maneuver to slow the freefall, then a flip for an upright landing.

SpaceX will waste no time with additional testing of prototypes. The SN10 could begin ground tests in the coming week and could possibly launch before the end of the month. 

adiggs

Active Member
Sep 25, 2012
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Portland, OR
We get to see the belly flop again!

Now that I've seen the water tower go up, I've started thinking -- where will the people / cargo go when it's time to put real stuff on board?

I assume that the current 16 story (I think I heard that on Scott Manley's recap) unit isn't the full scale size yet. Presumably the cargo will go into the nose cone, which will in tern need to get bigger.


I can't help myself - it's going to be awhile before it's actually Starship and not "flying water tower" to me :)
 
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mongo

Well-Known Member
May 3, 2017
12,904
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We get to see the belly flop again!

Now that I've seen the water tower go up, I've started thinking -- where will the people / cargo go when it's time to put real stuff on board?

I assume that the current 16 story (I think I heard that on Scott Manley's recap) unit isn't the full scale size yet. Presumably the cargo will go into the nose cone, which will in tern need to get bigger.


I can't help myself - it's going to be awhile before it's actually Starship and not "flying water tower" to me :)
It's full size.
The cargo areas is the nose cone plus 4 of the ring segments (above dome, 5.5 to dome edge). Each ring is 6 feet or so tall.
 

Grendal

SpaceX Moderator
Jan 31, 2012
5,752
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Here's a speculation on the interior of SN8. You know this wrong in some way because it lacks the header tanks. I also think the actual tanks are larger. Scott Manley described it as 12 stories tall.
images

Rocket size comparison:
images

I think the size comparison to the Space Shuttle brings it home for Starship:
images
 

bxr140

Active Member
Nov 18, 2014
2,682
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Bay Area
That's a serious issue. Real JV level stuff.

Accepting the possibility/probability of failing in controlled environment--like SN8 lawn darting into the landing pad--is a huge development advantage for SpaceX. Few others in the rocket space are willing to push technical limits to the extreme in that way because of the perception that those kinds of failures are fast and loose, but in reality those are still controlled, engineered situations.

Having a failure like this one is good old fashioned negligent fast and loose. There's no acceptable reason for this to happen, regardless what the root cause ends up being.

Very bad show.
 

adiggs

Active Member
Sep 25, 2012
4,208
11,533
Portland, OR
Hey, nothing to see here. That'll buff right out. And besides, a few door dings gives a vehicle character.

(Yes, I'm being silly; me, not the situation :D)
 

Electroman

Supporting Member
Aug 18, 2012
6,143
6,225
TX
That's a serious issue. Real JV level stuff.

Accepting the possibility/probability of failing in controlled environment--like SN8 lawn darting into the landing pad--is a huge development advantage for SpaceX. Few others in the rocket space are willing to push technical limits to the extreme in that way because of the perception that those kinds of failures are fast and loose, but in reality those are still controlled, engineered situations.

Having a failure like this one is good old fashioned negligent fast and loose. There's no acceptable reason for this to happen, regardless what the root cause ends up being.

Very bad show.
Agreed. This is not acceptable.

SN8 crash landing is not a failure of anything. It is a datapoint in a controlled test. SN9 pad crashing in the bay is negligence and incompetence of someone.
 

ICUDoc

Active Member
May 19, 2015
1,643
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Sydney NSW
Agreed. This is not acceptable.

SN8 crash landing is not a failure of anything. It is a datapoint in a controlled test. SN9 pad crashing in the bay is negligence and incompetence of someone.
IANARS but I agree with the emotions expressed- SN8 disintegreat- never expected perfection, it was a test. Thought they did wonderfully well.
SN9 unplanned recline- well, I DID previously have confidence in their ability to keep the pointy bit straight up before launch- sadly, not so much, now. I'm sure Elon will put it right. This whole SpaceX endeavour is so enjoyable to follow :)
 
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Electroman

Supporting Member
Aug 18, 2012
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There have been cases (not in SpaceX) where satellites were dropped from the crane during testing, destroying millions of dollar worth of equipment, not to mention years of setback to the program.
 

HVM

Savolainen
Oct 30, 2012
1,005
1,724
Finland
SpaceX has slowly lifted SN9 back up, with jacks and beams, giant crane Pluto securing the top.

It's possible that the stand did not give in but whole SN9 stack tilted. If you check Steve Jurvetson's photos, the stand is weighted down with steel rolls, only with one side. So there was some reason for SN9 to try tilt to the nearest wall, -by weight distribution or just by wind. Aaand too few rolls were used.
50710924661_a3b5d4cb30_b.jpg

(Correct way to use anti-corona bandana?)
https://twitter.com/FutureJurvetson/status/1337959718896115712
 
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HVM

Savolainen
Oct 30, 2012
1,005
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Finland
I bet that lashing chains, wooden planks and haphazardly weld steel rolls give bxr140 warm and fuzzy feeling (and any OSHA officials too). Some of the feet seem to have anchor bolts but not all, "it weights ~200 metric tons, where it going to go" but it's also 50 by 9 meter (+ body flaps) sail...

; P
 
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