According to Elon Musk, the Starship rocket test, which ended with an explosion, was a success.
It was an obviously unmanned test that lasted just under two hours.
In fact, everything had gone well until landing, when due probably to a delay in deceleration, Starship crashed to the ground creating a loud explosion, as can be seen from the original video in the last five minutes.
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) December 9, 2020
The rocket was actually the SN8 prototype of the Starship spacecraft, which will be one of the largest spaceships ever built, with a diameter of about 9 metres and a height of 50 metres.
One of the peculiarities of the Starship is that it can land vertically autonomously on Earth, the Moon or Mars.
Musk commented saying:
“Successful ascent, switchover to header tanks & precise flap control to landing point!”
The landing was the only thing that went wrong, with the spacecraft not slowing down enough and crashing to the ground exploding.
Shortly afterwards Musk wrote:
“Mars, here we come!!”.
The test carried out yesterday was a very simplified version of Starship’s operation, and it won’t be the last one.
Moreover, SN8 was the first prototype that had a shape and dimensions very similar to the final dimensions of the ship foreseen by the project.
Elon Musk and the Starship rocket test
Moreover, in recent days SpaceX, Elon Musk’s company that is developing Starship, had already anticipated that the real objective of the test was to verify the reliability of the engines, the tightness of the systems and the aerodynamics, while bringing the prototype back to the ground in perfect condition was not the most important part of the experiment.
Elon Musk himself had estimated that there was only a one in three chance that everything would work perfectly.
Other SpaceX rockets have already been tested in this way in the past, and several explosions at landing have already occurred. It should be noted, however, that the SpaceX rockets that are already in service have never had similar problems.