- The SpaceX prototype SN4 from SpaceX exploded on Friday during a static fire test, just a few hours before Crew Dragon’s second attempt.
- The two projects are completely different and the explosion had no effect on the NASA mission.
- The video of the explosion shows the rocket prototype that appears to spill oxygen shortly before the vehicle is destroyed.
SpaceX had an incredibly eventful weekend. The Crew Dragon capsule traveled to the International Space Station and had astronauts with it for the first time. It was a huge accomplishment for SpaceX and a very big deal for NASA, which desperately wants to have the ability to send people into space whenever they want.
Unfortunately, not everything swung in the direction of SpaceX and a test of a SpaceX Starship prototype ended on Friday in the worst way. A static fire test ̵
Testing SpaceX vehicles is not normally open to the public, but does not prevent SpaceX enthusiasts from crouching and remotely recording some of the company’s efforts. NASASpaceflight is one of these groups and has recorded a live video feed of the static fire test that captures the incredible explosion in all its glory.
The video is pretty wild. It starts with preparing the prototype of the vehicle for its static fire test, and offers comments from NASASpaceflight enthusiasts who know a lot about this type of event. Everything seems to be going smoothly until the test area is flooded with smoke or steam.
The observers comment that they have never seen anything like this in a static fire test and suggest possible explanations. They discuss whether it is oxygen or methane, and just a few moments later the entire vehicle explodes, leaving practically nothing in its place.
It’s actually fun to hear the commentary as observers try to figure out what’s left after the big boom. They offer their own theories about what may have gone wrong and search the debris remotely based on what they can see. What they definitely can’t see is the SpaceX Starship prototype that seemed to vanish.
At this point, it remains unclear why exactly the Starship prototype exploded in this way. An investigation will be carried out, as is always the case when something like this happens, and SpaceX will try to investigate. Whatever the case, it is for this reason that such tests are carried out, and spectacular failures currently mean less risk of similar failures in the future.