Science

The SpaceX Starship SN10 prototype proves landing, then detonates minutes later

The day marked another milestone for SpaceX, which successfully launched and then landed its Starship SN10 prototype. The prototype was launched at an altitude of about 32,000 feet before installing an impressive landing … and then, minutes later, it exploded. Despite the dramatic conclusion of this launch, the entire event was a remarkable display of SpaceX’s increased capabilities.

As with previous launches from the company, you can watch the launch day broadcast on the SpaceX website, including the launch and final landing. Sadly, the broadcast paused two minutes after the prototype landed, which means you won’t be able to see the explosion in the video below.

However, the dramatic ending was captured elsewhere, giving the audience a satisfying look at the resulting fireball and the Starship’s unexpected second bounce into the air. The explosion occurred about eight minutes after landing, and it was not a complete surprise – some flames were seen around the base of the prototype after it landed, indicating the final explosion.

All in all, this was a huge success for SpaceX, which saw the launch of two earlier prototypes of the Starship leading to spectacular accidents. This time, viewers were given an amazing view of the missile expertly moving itself and descending to the ground – a scene that looks like something out of a science fiction movie.

The launch took place in Boca Chica, Texas, after an initial launch attempt was foiled due to a propulsion problem with one of the prototype engines. After modification and refueling, the actual launch occurred about three hours later. “The third time is magic,” SpaceX engineer John Ensbrucker quipped the broadcast after landing.

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