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Elon Musk's SpaceX Starship Prototype Lands For The First Time, But Then Explodes

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Elon Musk's SpaceX Starship Prototype Lands For The First Time, But Then Explodes

A SpaceX Starship prototype landed for the first time on Wednesday (3 March), but then exploded just minutes later.

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The prototype had carried out a high-altitude test flight in Texas and, at first, it seemed that everything had gone according to plan, it did a few fancy maneuvers in the air before it came down and landed safely on the pad.

However, around eight minutes later the ship - called SN10 - burst into flames.

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In a clip of the test flight, people can be heard cheering as the prototype seemingly manages to make a safe landing, but their celebrations are short-lived as it promptly explodes minutes later.

Keeping a close eye on things, SpaceX boss Elon Musk was initially pleased with the test, posting on Twitter to say: "Starship SN10 landed in one piece!"

But soon after he followed this with: "RIP SN10, honorable discharge."

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Although it might not seem like it, SpaceX is sure to be pretty happy with the result, as this is the first time one of its Starship prototypes has successfully carried out its in-flight manoeuvres and managed to make a decent landing - at least to begin with.

Credit: Trevor Mahlmann via Storyful
Credit: Trevor Mahlmann via Storyful

So, despite the little setback, Musk heaped praise on the team who got it off the ground, writing: "SpaceX team is doing great work!

"One day, the true measure of success will be that Starship flights are commonplace."

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This isn't the first Starship prototype to end up in a ball of flames.

The two prototypes before this, the SN8 and the SN9, both exploded on landing in December 2020 and February 2021 respectively.

Credit: Trevor Mahlmann via Storyful
Credit: Trevor Mahlmann via Storyful

Speaking after the SN9's test flight ended in flames, SpaceX principal integration engineer John Insprucker said: "We had, again, another great flight up. We've got a lot of good data on flap control, we've just got to work on that landing a little bit."

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Speculating why the landing may have ended so badly, one Twitter user suggested: "Looks like it was turned, and not vertical as it attempted the landing."

Another said: "It looks like they just wait too long to flip it upright and turn the engine on. It looks like it is coming in too fast and they start the landing too late."

Featured Image Credit: Trevor Mahlmann via Storyful

Topics: elon musk, SpaceX

Claire Reid
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