SpaceX news: Starship tank explodes during dramatic test

The Starship SN7 prototype tank erupted during the pressure test at SpaceX’s Boca Chica proving grounds. This was the second test in just over a week for the spacecraft component.

Video cameras captured SpaceX filling the tank with super-chilled liquid nitrogen to test its ability to hold super-cold propellant during actual launches.

After the tank reached its limit, it burst and produced clouds of white nitrogen.

When the tank erupted, it popped and collapsed, disappearing into the nitrogen smoke.

SpaceX has been trailing a series of tests at Boca Chica to help create better designs for the stainless steel Starship.

The company aims to use the Starship for Mars flights and moon landings.

Last month, NASA chose Starship as one of three commercial moon lander designs.

They would be used to land NASA’s Artemis astronauts to the moon.

Some of SpaceX’s Starship tests have been a success.

For example, a series of ground-based rocket engine tests.

The 2019 flight of an early model of Starship called Starhopper has also been seen as a success.

On 29 May, SpaceX’s SN4 Starship prototype exploded after it’s Raptor engine was tested.

The dramatic explosion erupted into a fireball at the company’s South Texas proving grounds.

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The fire occurred about a minute after its Raptor rocket engine was being tested.

At the time of the test, it was unclear what caused the extensive fire.

The Starship SN4 vehicle was part of the stainless steel prototype series by SpaceX to adapt the technology needed for an ambitious launch system.

The vehicle is one which the company hopes will carry up to 100 people to space and Mars at a time.

Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO, announced that the company will learn from each test in order to improve future designs.

Earlier this month, SpaceX pressure-tested a Starship propellant tank to inform future designs for spacecraft.

Elon Musk tweeted about the test on 15 June: “Tank didn’t burst, but leaked at 7.6 bar.

“This is a good result and supports idea of 304L stainless being better than 301.

“We’re developing our own alloy to take this even further.

“Leak burst is highly desirable.”

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