SpaceX’s Starship program ran into a lineup after a test ended Monday night in a fiery explosion at the Boca Chica development facility in Texas. The test was conducted using a prototype version of the Super Heavy booster the space company is developing, which is designed to provide the extra lift needed to get the Starship spacecraft into orbit and beyond.
This booster prototype carries 33 of SpaceX’s large Raptor engines and the test is specifically designed to run the engines for a preview of what the startup sequence would look like prior to an actual launch. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk initially tweeted that the obviously disastrous test had ended in an expected way, but that tweet was quickly deleted and Musk replaced it. acknowledged that it was “not good”.
NASA spaceflight got footage of the fireball resulting from the test going wrong, causing a fire on the launch pad which was then extinguished with no injuries.
Starship aims to conduct its first orbital flight test this year, though this incident could push back a timeline that has already suffered some delays. The FAA repeatedly delayed publishing a necessary environmental assessment of the impact of Starship’s launch from SpaceX’s so-called Starbase site in Boca Chica, but finally released the report in June, requiring SpaceX to take a series of steps to mitigate its impact. but largely the proposed flying activities.