SpaceX, following a series of delays, finally got to test its SN11 Starship prototype out after the last one crashed-and-burned on landing at the beginning of this month. SN10 experienced an issue on impact that ignited the rocket just after it touched down.
SN11, however… we’re not really sure what happened to SN11. The test took place on a foggy day and while it made its 10km height, it experienced issues on descent that were visually concealed by the fog. It was fine as it entered the fog, then it was blown to bits in a manner we can’t explain. Yet.
Staring at SN11
You can watch the launch for yourself, but you’re not going to have much luck seeing what actually took place at the conclusion. The space company has the launch and subsequent belly-flop move dialled in, but it’s the landing consistently giving SpaceX trouble.
Only, this time, we don’t see what went wrong. At the 5:47 mark on the video’s onscreen counter, one of SN11’s Raptor engines fires and then video is lost. A series of explosions was reported and then bits of the Starship disassembled themselves over the launch pad. Elon Musk said, ” At least the crater is in the right place.”
But this probably won’t slow SpaceX down. The company is likely to skip ahead to SN15 for the next test, according to Ars Technica. The newer iteration is more advanced than the models that the company keeps detonating for our amusement, so hopefully it’ll have better luck making a more graceful landing.