Yesterday, Elon Musk’s SpaceX performed an breathtaking feat of engineering when it vertically landed, for the first time, a prototype of the 2nd stage Super Heavy Lift Starship SN10 spacecraft which will eventually be used to get humanity to Mars in this decade.
But that was definitely not the end of the story as, minutes after the touchdown, the rocket exploded on the launch pad. Everything was caught on amazing videos:
— Leandra (@leandrahino) March 4, 2021
Here is a closer angle:
So the landing legs did deploy!
But if you look closely, some of them didn’t lock in-place… you can see them dangling!
I don’t think they would’ve made much difference anyway, given the touchdown velocity!
— Leo 🚀 (@TerminalCount) March 3, 2021
And an incredible closeup:
— Mehdi Sadaghdar (@ElectroBOOMGuy) March 3, 2021
Though the test flight should be considered a success given that it did accomplish all of the monumental engineering feats required to perform a vertical landing, it is still very important to note that that space craft exploded afterward and more engineering is yet to be done:
Starship SN10's post landing demise is unfortunate but still, everyone at SpaceX can chalk todays flight test up as a huge success. Become a patron at the link below for photo downloads, behind the scenes goodies, and more. @NASASpaceflight
— Jack Beyer (@thejackbeyer) March 4, 2021
— Disclose.tv 🚨 (@disclosetv) March 3, 2021
“These test flights are all about improving our understanding and development of a fully reusable transportation system designed to carry both crew and cargo on long-duration, interplanetary flights and help humanity return to the Moon, and travel to Mars and beyond,” SpaceX said.
Musk has said that he plans to be shipping people off to Mars as early as 2024.