WATCH: SpaceX Starship Prototype Successfully Lifts Off, Nails Landing Before Explosion on Pad in Texas

By  //  March 3, 2021

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lifted off at SpaceX’s site in Cameron County, Texas

ABOVE VIDEO: The SpaceX team successfully conducted a high-altitude flight test of Starship serial number 10 (SN10) – their third high-altitude suborbital flight test of a Starship prototype from SpaceX’s site in Cameron County, Texas.

CAMERON COUNTY, TEXAS – The SpaceX team successfully conducted a high-altitude flight test of Starship serial number 10 (SN10) – their third high-altitude suborbital flight test of a Starship prototype from SpaceX’s site in Cameron County, Texas.

Similar to the high-altitude flight tests of Starship SN8 and SN9, SN10 was powered through ascent by three Raptor engines, each shutting down in sequence prior to the vehicle reaching apogee – approximately 10 km in altitude.

SN10 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 descended under active aerodynamic control, accomplished by independent movement of two forward and two aft flaps on the vehicle. All four flaps were actuated by an onboard flight computer to control Starship’s attitude during flight and enable precise landing at the intended location.

SN10’s Raptor engines then reignited as the vehicle attempted a landing flip maneuver immediately before touching down on the landing pad adjacent to the launch mount.

However, about 15 minutes after landing the Starship, it exploded on the Pad.

A controlled aerodynamic descent with body flaps and vertical landing capability, combined with in-space refilling, are critical to landing Starship at destinations across the solar system where prepared surfaces or runways do not exist, and returning to Earth.

This capability will enable a fully reusable transportation system designed to carry both crew and cargo on long-duration, interplanetary flights and help humanity return to the Moon, and travel to Mars and beyond.

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