Nearly one month ago, SpaceX succeeded in assembling what could have represented its first operational Starship prototype. It even started to test the spacecraft to ensure of its flight resistance. But it failed big time. Starship’s fuel tank exploded, gas was eliminated, and without enough internal pressure to maintain its form, the SpaceX “SN1” reached the ground, crushed, and imploded.
SpaceX didn’t wait for too long, and after a couple of days, starting again to run different tests on another prototype, dubbed “SN2.” This time it succeeded. With the progress gathered, the spacecraft was put on standby, and SpaceX continued to its upcoming test. But things seem not all so favorable for the space agency, as it returned to the drawing board.
The Third SpaceX Starship Test Failure
On April 2, SpaceX’s SN3 testbed supported cryogenic testing to assure it would be capable of keeping its pressure better than the first Starship did. SpaceX kitted SN3 with chilled nitrogen gas and set it with similar forces the vehicle would encounter during an actual liftoff. After a couple of seconds, however, the test failed. Gas could be spotted escaping, and the structure crashed in its middle.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk discussed the incident and stated: ” May have been a test configuration mistake.” It means that even if we witnessed a failure to maintain the pressure, what we observed was tanks being emptied of fuel in the incorrect order. So, the spacecraft became “top-heavy.” Ultimately, the weight of a full upper tank crumpled the drained tank underneath it, causing SN3’s collapse.
Whatever the reasons and cause could’ve been, SpaceX won’t stop here. The development of its fourth Starship prototype, SN4, is already happening. Ars Technica, the SpaceX watcher, thinks another test could be effectuated later this month. We’ll find out soon how lucky will be SpaceX this time.