The fourth prototype of the next-gen Starship rocket of SpaceX exploded on Friday after it was tested at the development facility of the company in Texas.
The company was carrying out a trial run of the engine of the rocket in a ground test called the static fire. The test appeared successful initially, but after a few minutes, the Starship prototype called Serial Number 4 burst out in a major explosion.
The prototype in the discussion was remarkably different from the Crew Dragon spacecraft and the Falcon 9 rocket of the company. These are all set to launch the NASA astronauts this weekend from Florida. The rocket system had earlier launched cargo and satellites successfully to space dozens of times after undergoing years of testing and development.
The company is developing the latest rocket called Starship to launch cargo and people to Mars and moon. The rocket is made to be reusable so that it can be launched multiple times like the commercial aeroplanes. The shiny exterior of the Starship comes from the kind of stainless steel that the company is using for building the rocket.
This newest prototype for the Starship is the fourth one built by SpaceX. Though this one has made the furthest in the tests and crossed a number of critical milestones, SpaceX is yet to start flight testing the recent designs. Starhopper, an earlier iteration, had completed a brief launch and landing test in October last year.
The SN4 had even passed the pressurization test that had damaged the earlier version of the design. SpaceX has already made and destroyed four prototypes of Starship because of different reasons for failure at the time of testing.
SpaceX has been putting all its energy in developing Starship to reach its goal launching into space at the latter half of this year and the moon within two years.