What happened to SN8? Elon Musk's SpaceX Starship rocket explodes while landing, Internet says 'you'll land SN9'

The launch and ascent were successful, but as the engines seemed to reignite for landing, the vehicle flipped back to vertical and then slammed into the ground


                            What happened to SN8? Elon Musk's SpaceX Starship rocket explodes while landing, Internet says 'you'll land SN9'
(SpaceX/Twitter)

On Wednesday, December 9, SpaceX's Starship rocket, a test flight for a vehicle anticipated to ultimately take passengers to the moon and Mars, exploded after its launch, making impact with the ground while trying to land. It had no one aboard. The launch and ascent were successful, but as the engines seemed to reignite for landing, the vehicle flipped back to vertical and then slammed into the ground. The vehicle exploded on ground impact. The rocket had been expected to reach an altitude of about 40,000 feet on the test flight.

As reported by ABC News, SpaceX wrote of the launch on its website, “This suborbital flight is designed to test a number of objectives, from how the vehicle’s three Raptor engines perform to the overall aerodynamic entry capabilities of the vehicle (including its body flaps) to how the vehicle manages propellant transition. SN8 will also attempt to perform a landing flip maneuver, which would be a first for a vehicle of this size.” The report further states, on Tuesday, December 8, the Serial Number 8, or SN8, rocket was supposed to launch from SpaceX's facility in Texas, but was dropped at the last minute due to an engine issue.

SpaceX founder Elon Musk tweeted, "Mars, here we come!". He also said, “Successful ascent, switchover to header tanks & precise flap control to landing point!” Musk added, “Fuel header tank pressure was low during landing burn, causing touchdown velocity to be high & RUD, but we got all the data we needed! Congrats SpaceX team hell yeah!!”



 



 

A CNBC report further explained the rocket seemed to complete several of the development objectives it was targeting, including testing its aerodynamics and a flip to prepare itself for landing. But it exploded on impact as it attempted to land, after flying for more than six minutes. Starship SN8 is built of stainless steel, with the prototypes representing the early versions of the rocket that CEO Elon Musk unveiled last year. The company is building and testing the Starship prototypes at its growing facility in Boca Chica. The facility on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, about 20 miles east of the Texas city of Brownsville on the Mexico border.

The report also states that, to date, SpaceX has built 10 Starship prototypes, with the company saying that Starship SN9 is almost ready to launch. SpaceX now has two active test stands at its Boca Chica facility, "for rapid development testing".

People on Twitter were also discussing the incident. Soon RIP SN8 began trending. One user wrote: “Congratulations @elonmusk and @spacex team. That launch was probably the coolest thing I've seen since the maiden flight of the Space Shuttle in the 80s. RIP SN8 and I know you guys will land SN9!!! Man so excited for the future of this program!!!” Another said, “RIP sn8! you did what you had to do.” A user commented, “Well done @SpaceX what a fantastic test flight RIP SN8 so so so so nearly landed come come SN9 your up next let’s go @elonmusk keep up the hard work I love watch all the flights and my 6 year old boy gets so excited I can’t wait to show him this test flight.”



 



 



 

These remarks were made by the internet and individual organizations, MEAWW cannot confirm them independently and nor does it support these claims being made on the Internet.

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