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Elon Musk reveals what made SpaceX’s Prototype Explode

The stainless-steel vehicle, known as SN11 SpaceX’s was launched on a test flight last On March 30 from SpaceX’s South Texas facilities, near the Gulf Coast village of Boca Chica. This SN11 soared to a maximum altitude as planned, and the 50 meters craft checked a number of boxes on the way down as well. The SN 11 did not survive for landing, instead exploded into a massive fireball due to a plumbing problem.

Elon Musk tweeted that the Ascent phase, transition to horizontal & control during free fall were good. A small CH4 leak led to a fire on engine 2 & fried part of avionics, causing a hard start attempting landing burn in CH4 turbopump. The CH4 is methane, the propellant for SpaceX’s powerful, next-generation Raptor engine. The hard start means the ignition when there’s too much fuel in the combustion chamber and the pressure is therefore too high which is not a good thing for any engine.

SpaceX’s is developing the Starship to take people and cargo to the moon, Mars, and other distant destinations. This transportation system consists of two elements, that are fully reusable. The two elements are the Starship spacecraft and a giant first-stage booster called Super Heavy. Both the elements Starship and Super Heavy will be powered by Raptors six for the final Starship and about 30 for the huge booster, Musk has said. SN11 sported three Raptors, as did each of its three predecessors, SN8, SN9, and SN10, which launched on 6-mile-high test flights in December, February, and early March, respectively.

All four flights launched were similar to the prototypes performing well until the very end. The previous prototype SN10 even landed in one piece but exploded about eight minutes later. SpaceX’s will try to get the landing right. The company has already built the next Starship prototype, known as SN15, and it should take to the skies soon.

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