During a test Monday, the base of Booster 7 — a prototype of the Super Heavy — caught fire at the company’s Starbase facility in South Texas. SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter it was “not good” and “unintentional”.
“The team is assessing the damage.”
He said the explosion occurred when the “engine spin start test” did not go as planned.
SpaceX is developing Starships to carry people and cargo to the Moon, Mars and beyond. The vehicle consists of two elements: a first-stage booster known as Super Heavy and an upper-stage spacecraft known as a Starship.
Both the Starship and Super Heavy are designed to be fully and rapidly reusable, and will be powered by SpaceX’s new Raptor engines – 33 for the Super Heavy and six for the Starship.
SpaceX.com reported that the company is preparing Booster 7 for the first-ever Starship orbital test flight, which is expected to lift off in the next few months.
SpaceX has launched several upper-stage Starship prototypes on high-altitude test flights, even sticking a landing in May 2021 with one of them. But the upcoming mission, which will send a Starship vehicle known as Ship 24 into orbit, will be the first-ever launch for a super heavy.
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