In what the company claims is “not a serious setback,” the Mark I prototype of SpaceX’s Starship launch vehicle exploded during a test on Wednesday.
The Mark I blew its lid during cryogenic testing, to determine whether a craft can withstand extreme cold like that found in the void of space. The explosion blew off part of the bulkhead which went flying as video from the scene shows.
— Chris B - NSF @NASASpaceflight Nov 20th 2019
The explosion occurred at SpaceX’s test site in Boca Chica, Texas, at approximately 4:30pm Eastern Time. Apart from the ruptured bulkhead, the full extent of the damage is unknown but it is likely the company will scrap the vehicle.
“The purpose of today’s test was to pressurize systems to the max, so the outcome was not completely unexpected. There were no injuries, nor is this a serious setback,” the company said in a statement.
Read more: SpaceX Starship explodes in latest test - company says it’s ‘not a serious setback’. No, rockets exploding on launch never are