SpaceX’s prototype Starship rocket engulfed in flames during engine test

By Digit NewsDesk | Published on Jul 18 2019
SpaceX’s prototype Starship rocket engulfed in flames during engine test

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SpaceX was testing its Starship prototype rocket in Texas.

A video shows a fireball erupting from the rocket’s base four minutes into testing.

Space X is working on developing its Starship rocket that is meant to ferry people into space. However, before realising that goal, the company needs to test it and this is being done via a prototype rocket called Starhopper. The aerospace company is currently testing the prototype Starhopper rocket at its Boca Chica facility in Texas. Just a couple of days ago during testing, the Spacehopper rocket was engulfed in flames after a fire suddenly erupted from underneath the rocket's engine. This reportedly happened four minutes into the test that was going well. It is not known whether the prototype rocket was damaged or not. 

As per a report by Everyday Astronaut, Starhopper was tethered down and the new Raptor Engine was being tested. The fire was put out soon after it erupted and SpaceX has not yet released a statement about whether what happened was intentional or if something went wrong. Starhopper is basically a smaller version of the Starship craft and it’s aimed to help perform testing in a live-fire environment and eventually perform short flights called hops. While Starhopper has been tested only while being tethered, the company was planning to perform an untethered flight by letting it hover at about 20 meters above the ground. 

It also seems as if SpaceX might be delaying further testing of Starhopper since @LabPadre notes that the company has withdrawn road and beach closures around its testing area. As per the report, there is no testing date planned by SpaceX at this time, and if what happened was unintentional, it is possible that the test plans could be delayed indefinitely. The company is currently raising funds for Starship and Starlink, which is its internet satellite network. Starship is envisioned to be the aerospace company’s first fully reusable rocket. Currently, SpaceX partially reuses the recovered rocket boosters from its Falcon series spacecraft. 

Digit NewsDesk

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