SpaceX's Starhip Mk1 test prototype was blown up when refueling


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SpaceX's Starhip Mk1 test prototype was blown up when refueling

The main activity of SpaceX is associated with the operation of a partially reusable Falcon 9 rocket, as well as with the delivery of contracted cargo from NASA to the ISS on a Dragon ship. SpaceX plans to begin shipping people to the space station next year on the Dragon 2 ship. However, the company Ilona Maska is also known for her ambitious plans to colonize Mars. It is for them that SpaceX creates a fully reusable superheavy rocket and space system consisting of the Super Heavy accelerator (first stage) and the Starship spacecraft / second stage. You can read more about it here.

Now SpaceX is building several full-size Starship prototypes at its site in Texas near the city of Boca Chica and Florida. On Wednesday, October 20, the first test refueling of the Starship Mk1 prototype with cryogenic fuel components — methane and liquid oxygen — was conducted in Texas. It was this device, according to SpaceX plans, that had to complete a “jump” to a height of up to 20 km by the end of the year.

During refueling, the top of the fuel tank fell apart and was thrown far to the side, and a large white cloud, probably consisting of cooled oxygen or nitrogen, rose above the prototype. The bottom floor was also torn off, as the fuel components evaporated on both sides.

According to SpaceX, the purpose of the tests was to check the tightness of the fuel system at maximum pressure.

Three Raptor engines were not installed on the Mk1 prototype during these tests, so they were not affected. Also, the upper part with “wings” was removed from it to control the orientation of the ship during landing, however, it is unlikely that it will be used on another device.

The founder and technical director of SpaceX, Ilone Mask, confirmed that the company will not restore the destroyed prototype, but will direct its main efforts to completing work with the Starship Mk3, which was originally created taking into account the experience gained from building the previous two prototypes. As with the Mk1, the construction of the Mk3 is underway in Boca Chica.

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