WASHINGTON – SpaceX announced on 3 March brought a prototype of his next-generation Starship vehicle to market and landed it safely for the vehicle to explode minutes later

The Starship SN10 vehicle started around 183 pm from the company’s test site in Boca Chica, East Texas. A start attempt three hours earlier was interrupted when the engine was ignited because of a “slightly conservative high thrust limit,” tweeted company founder and managing director Elon Musk

The SN10 flight followed a similar profile as two previous ones, of SN8 on December 9 and SN9 on Feb. 2 The vehicle flew to a planned top altitude of 10 kilometers and switched off the three Raptor engines one after the other during the ascent. The vehicle then performed a “belly flop” maneuver in a horizontal orientation in order to return to its landing site

On the previous two Starship test flights, SpaceX had problems reactivating two Raptor engines, which were needed for a motorized landing, after they were switched back to a vertical orientation, SpaceX changed the procedure for this landing attempt, all three ignited and then shut down two as needed for landing

That seemed to work The vehicle landed gently on the pad about six minutes and 20 seconds after it took off, instead of crashing and exploding The video showed the vehicle leaning slightly but appeared otherwise intact – initially

“The third time is the allure, as the saying goes,” said John Insprucker, the SpaceX engineer who hosted the company’s webcast about the flight, “A nice soft Starship landing on the Boca Chica landing pad”

SpaceX ended the webcast at this point, but independent webcasts showed that an explosion occurred at the base of the vehicle about eight minutes after landing.The explosion threw the vehicle into the air and crashed back into the Neither SpaceX pad a few seconds later nor Musk commented immediately on the explosion, but webcasts revealed that hoses sprayed water onto the base of the vehicle in the minutes prior to the explosion
Insprucker noted that the next prototype, SN11, “is ready to roll onto the pad in the near future”


The flight came a day after Starship’s first announced customer revealed new plans for its mission in September 2018, Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa said he had purchased a flight of what was then known as the BFR for a trip to the moon in 2023 On this mission called “DearMoon” Maezawa flew with up to eight artists

Maezawa updated his plans for DearMoon on Dec. March 23, announcing a public competition to fly eight people on this mission, slated for 2023. “I started thinking that maybe every single person doing something creative could be called an artist,” he said in a video “If you see yourself as an artist, you are an artist”

Pre-registrations for the competition have been opened on the project website, followed by an “assignment” and interviews Crew selection is expected in late June.The project did not include additional details on this selection process or any restrictions on age, physical condition, or nationality.The project did not answer questions from SpaceNews on these and related topics from the project

Maezawa said a total of 10 to 12 people will fly on the mission, but did not disclose who the other eight people selected in the competition would be

Musk, who can also be seen in the video, said he believes Starship would be ready to wear humans around the moon by 2023. “I am very confident that with Starship we will have reached orbit many times before 2023 and that it will be safe enough for human transportation by 2023, “he said

“I’m a little scared,” Maezawa admitted in the video, “but I’m more curious and trust Elon and the SpaceX team, their technological capabilities and their teamwork”

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