The Space X prototype explodes to the ground minutes after landing

Time.news – There’s no two without three. The SN10 prototype of Space X’s Starship rocket finally managed to land in Texas … before exploding to the ground a few minutes later and thus becoming the third failed test for the spacecraft that billionaire Elon Musk one day hopes to send to Mars.

“A wonderful soft landing,” SpaceX commentator John Insprucker cheered in the video that airs the test flight live. The flames were still visible at the foot of the rocket, extinguished by the fire brigade teams rushed to the scene. But a few minutes later a huge explosion threw the aircraft into the air, which shattered to the ground. No explanation has been provided at the time.

The SN10 prototype (which stands for ‘Serial Number 10’) took off just before 11:20 GMT from Boca Chica, Texas, for a third suborbital test. The rocket rose into the sky, propelled by three engines, which shut down one after the other, and the aircraft rolled over to a horizontal position. He reached 10 kilometers of altitude difference, a goal set for this flight, before starting the descent. The rocket then returned to a vertical position, managing to land, at first glance without incident, in the desired position. Then the explosion.

Two other prototypes (SN8 and SN9) crashed during landing, the first in December and the second in early February.
These tests are taking place in an almost deserted area leased by Space X in the far south of Texas, near the Mexican border and on the edge of the Gulf of Mexico. This is an empty enough area to allow for an accident or explosion without causing casualties or damage.

Elon Musk dreams of one day launching many of these spacecraft ‘to conquer’ Mars. Although initially the rocket, if it becomes operational, it could prove useful for closer trips, especially to the Moon.

It is on this vehicle that Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa – whose net assets amount to approximately $ 2 billion – it should go around the moon, in theory in 2023. In a video published today on his Twitter account, the owner of the main Japanese clothing site he invited eight people “from all over the world” to join him. Aspiring astronauts must pre-register by March 14 and a first selection will be made a week later.

The future rocket will include, in addition to the spacecraft with the crew, a named first stage Super Heavy, consisting of tanks and structure of stainless steel, with inside propellants of cooled liquid methane and liquid oxygen (CH4 / LOX), powered by 31 Raptor engines. The whole will measure 120 meters in height and will be able to carry 100 tons on board.

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