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For its third test flight, SpaceX's starship rocket lands ... then explodes

For its third test flight, SpaceX’s starship rocket lands … then explodes

Not two without three? On Wednesday, March 3, this is the question everyone is asking about Starship’s third high-altitude test aircraft built on the future heavy launch of the American company SpaceX: The first two aircraft – December 9, 2020 And February 2 – Failed landing and ended with rocket exploding on the ground. During this new test, the engineers made changes to the final stage of the aircraft and Elon Musk estimated the chances of success to be 60%.

In a way, the boss of SpaceX is not really at fault. The SN-10 (Serial No. 10) prototype was actually able to land in the foothills of Boca Sika (Texas), which is a small question, but a piece. A fire broke out under the rocket and activated the fire hoses for a few minutes. The fire appeared to be under control, but within minutes of landing, a violent explosion triggered the starship several meters above the ground. Device wiped.

Although it was necessary to repeat it twice to take off (the first countdown was interrupted 0.1 seconds before the end), to restart the flight, the flight went the “nominal” way. The reaction used in space and its meaning is all going as planned. During the ascent phase, Starship’s three raptor engines came out one after the other, and the rocket went from vertical to horizontal at its peak, astonishing rocking maneuvers. Thanks to the folds fitted to it, the 50-meter steel cylinder then developed a guiding descent, “likely”.

Destruction is part of the game

Unlike the first two tests where the engines were re-ignited at the last second or so, the raptors were moving quickly. This gave the rocket time to straighten (with three motors), stabilize (with two motors), and finally, complete its descent (with one motor). Although this long maneuver has left Starship almost upright, it is not enough to prevent its destruction.

This prevents. SpaceX has never kept secret the risks taken for its rocket tests, and considers that it learns from its failures: Destruction is a part of the game. This third test, which qualifies as a half-failure, is an improvement over the previous two. The SN-11, which is already almost fully assembled in Boca, is waiting for its turn …

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