In less than 4 months from now, SpaceX launched its 4th Starship prototype only to have the vehicle crash again. The Starship SN11 took off at 9.00 am EST from the company’s test site at Boca Chica, Texas despite the heavy fog. The climate was rough making it impossible to sight the vehicle.
Initially, the flight took off as planned with the vehicle speed at 10km altitude and descending back to the landing station. As the vehicle reignited its Raptor for landing, the onboard video stopped at 5.49minutes after the liftoff.
SpaceX’s John Insprucker said that they had an exciting test. In addition, they are going to find out from the team about the incident. No confirmation on the loss of the vehicle provided. However, the video of the landing displayed fragments around the test site during landing. A tweet by Mr. Elon Musk (SpaceX Chief Executive) confirmed that vehicle damage however having the crater in the right place.
The team inspected the technical losses and recorded them in a detailed report. The Starship prototype is the 4th flight with an altitude of 10kms or more. The report mentions all four vehicles being lost either at the land or shortly after. In a recent test on 3rd March 2021, the SN10 Starship landed intact only to realize its explosion within 10mintues.
In a statement on 30th March, FAA took charge of the mishap investigation at SpaceX. The agency mentioned, “The FAA will approve the final mishap investigation report and any corrective actions SpaceX must take before return to flight is authorized.”
The FAA also added that it will investigate the reports that mention the detailed observations after the incident. A report mentions that the vehicle fragments found were well outside the exclusion zone for the launch. However, FAA confirms no loss or injury from the debris that is reported.