SpaceX Starship SN10 prototype nails landing, then explodes minutes later

Brittany A. Roston - Mar 3, 2021, 6:42pm CST
SpaceX Starship SN10 prototype nails landing, then explodes minutes later

Today marked yet another milestone moment for SpaceX, which successfully launched and then landed its Starship SN10 prototype. The prototype launched to a height of around 32,000ft before nailing an impressive landing…and then, minutes later, it exploded. Despite the dramatic conclusion to this launch, the entire event was an impressive display of SpaceX’s growing capabilities.

As with past launches from the company, you can watch the launch day broadcast on the SpaceX website, including the launch and eventual landing. Sadly, the broadcast cut off a couple of minutes after the prototype landed, meaning you won’t be able to see the explosion in the video below.

However, the dramatic ending was captured elsewhere, giving the public a satisfying look at the resulting fireball and Starship’s unanticipated second bounce back into the air. The explosion took place around eight minutes after landing, and wasn’t a complete surprise — some flames were visible around the prototype’s base after it touched down, hinting at the eventual eruption.

Overall, this was a big success for SpaceX, which saw its previous two Starship prototype launches result in stunning crashes. This time around, viewers were given a mind-blowing view of the rocket as it expertly maneuvered itself and lowered to the ground — a scene that looks like something straight out of a science fiction movie.

The launch took place in Boca Chica, Texas, after the initial launch attempt was aborted due to a thrust issue with one of the prototype’s engines. After a readjustment and refueling, the actual launch happened around three hours later. The broadcast was narrated by SpaceX engineer John Insprucker, who quipped after the landing, “Third time’s the charm.”

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