Fourth explosive attempt for SpaceX’s Starship rocket

Jared Krahn

After SN8, SN9, and SN10, the latest SpaceX’s Starship prototype SN11 crashed during a flight test on March 30, 2021.

Like its predecessors, the SN11 rocket took off from Boca Chica Village, near the Texas-Mexico border. The spacecraft ascended to its 10-kilometer goal through a foggy sky. 

During the ascension, however, low chamber pressure was reported on Raptor engine #2. Telemetry was lost as the spacecraft reignited its engines for the landing phase, and as it was about 1 kilometer from the ground, SN11 exploded, sending debris all around the landing pad.

Despite these failures, SpaceX is accumulating valuable data towards its goal to create a vehicle capable of coming and going into space with a cargo of 100 tons. Starship could even be the spacecraft used to one day colonize Mars.

For its third altitude test flight, SpaceX’s Starship rocket had successfully landed, but exploded about 10 minutes later. The next attempt, SN15, is already assembled, with “hundreds of design improvements across structures, avionics/software & engine,” according to Elon Musk.


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