WATCH: SpaceX Starship Test Flight in Texas Lifts Off with Success, Crash Lands on Pad

By  //  February 2, 2021

SPACEX: We’ll be back with another Starship in the near future

BOCA CHICA, TEXAS – SpaceX’s Starship SN9 rocket successfully lifted off  Tuesday afternoon in Boca Chica, Texas. However, it wasn’t a total success when the rocket crash landed after it tumbled out of the sky and became engulfed in flames before disintegrating on the surface.

“We had again another great flight up to the 10-kilometer apogee, we demonstrated the ability to transition the engines to the landing propellant tanks…we’ve just gotta work on that landing a little bit,” SpaceX engineer John Insprucker said during a 15-minute live stream of the launch.

“And a reminder, this is a test flight – second time we have flown Starship in this configuration. We’ve got a lot of data.”

Initially, the SN9 was powered through ascent by three Raptor engines, each shutting down in sequence prior to the vehicle reaching apogee – approximately 10 km in altitude. SN9 then performed a propellant transition to the internal header tanks, which hold landing propellant, before reorienting itself for reentry and a controlled aerodynamic descent.

The Starship prototype was suppose to descend under active aerodynamic control, accomplished by independent movement of two forward and two aft flaps on the vehicle.

SpaceX says all four flaps are actuated by an onboard flight computer to control Starship’s attitude during flight and enable precise landing at the intended location. SN9’s Raptor engines would reignite as the vehicle attempts a landing flip maneuver immediately before touching down on the landing pad adjacent to the launch mount.

“We’ll be back with another Starship in the near future,” said Insprucker.