SpaceX’s Starship SN10 EXPLODES on the launch pad just minutes after making a soft landing

SpaceX’s Starship Serial Number 10 made a soft landing following its first high altitude test, but minutes after standing tall on launch pad the it exploded into a ball of flames.

The Elon Musk firm and the world had celebrated Wednesday’s launch, as it was the first prototype that did not crash and burn following the giant ‘hop.’ 

The cause of the explosion has not yet been revealed, but Musk has referred to such events as ‘RUDs,’ or Rapid Unplanned Disassembly.

However, prior to the surprise eruption, the SpaceX team deemed the launch as success because the mission was to gather data on controlling the rocket during re-entry.

SN10 followed the same path of both SN8 and SN9, but unlike the previous two the latest prototype was able to stick the landing. 

The world watched at the edge of their seats after the Starship completed the iconic ‘belly flop’ and headed back to the launch pad to swivel itself vertically before touching down.

SN10 soared through the sky, propelled by its three powerful Raptor engines that turned of one by one until a single engine was left. 

When the rocket reached the six-mile mark four minutes into its flight, it hovered above the Earth using a single engine before turning on its side for the ‘belly flop.’

As SN10 headed back to the launch pad, it re-orientated itself to land vertically and it touched down as smoke came blowing out from the base – but it has suffered the same fate as its predecessors. 

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SpaceX's Starship Serial Number 10 made a soft landing following its first high altitude test, but minutes later after the stood tall on the launch pad it exploded into a ball of flames

SpaceX's Starship Serial Number 10 made a soft landing following its first high altitude test, but minutes later after the stood tall on the launch pad it exploded into a ball of flames

SpaceX’s Starship Serial Number 10 made a soft landing following its first high altitude test, but minutes later after the stood tall on the launch pad it exploded into a ball of flames

SN10 was patiently waiting on the launch pad all day waiting for its chance to follow in the steps of the SN8 and SN9 prototypes.

The rocket was set to take off at 3:20pm ET, but moments after the rocket ignited its Raptor engines the onboard computers activated an abort due to a detected issue.

Musk tweeted shortly after the halt saying:  ‘Launch abort on slightly conservative high thrust limit. Increasing thrust limit & recycling propellant for another flight attempt today.’ 

The SpaceX team worked quickly detanking and refueling the 165-foot stainless steel vehicle with the hopes that it would take flight later that day – and their wishes were granted.  

The cause of the explosion has not yet been revealed, but Musk has referred to such events as 'RUDs,' or Rapid Unplanned Disassembly.

The cause of the explosion has not yet been revealed, but Musk has referred to such events as 'RUDs,' or Rapid Unplanned Disassembly.

The cause of the explosion has not yet been revealed, but Musk has referred to such events as ‘RUDs,’ or Rapid Unplanned Disassembly.

The Elon Musk firm and the world had celebrated Wednesday's launch, as it was the first prototype that did not crash and burn following the giant 'hop' - but it seems they celebrated too soon

The Elon Musk firm and the world had celebrated Wednesday's launch, as it was the first prototype that did not crash and burn following the giant 'hop' - but it seems they celebrated too soon

The Elon Musk firm and the world had celebrated Wednesday’s launch, as it was the first prototype that did not crash and burn following the giant ‘hop’ – but it seems they celebrated too soon

Although SpaceX seems to be focused on reaching the maximum altitude with Starships, the entire agenda of these flights is to gather data and test key mechanics on the rockets.

Igniting all three Raptor engines for liftoff and then shutting them off one by one are all intentional actions, which also saves energy for when they need to power back on to lower the massive rocket to the launch pad.  

The decent was controlled under active aerodynamic control, accomplished by independent movement of two forward and two aft flaps on the vehicle, all of which SpaceX was set on testing during this mission. 

SN10 followed the same path as its predecessor SN8 and SN9, but unlike the previous two, the latest prototype was able to stick the landing.

SN10 followed the same path as its predecessor SN8 and SN9, but unlike the previous two, the latest prototype was able to stick the landing.

SN10 followed the same path as its predecessor SN8 and SN9, but unlike the previous two, the latest prototype was able to stick the landing. 

SpaceX's Starship Serial Number 10 survived its first high altitude test that sent the massive stainless steal rocket six miles in the air, followed by a 'soft' landing on the launch pad. Here it is moments before touching down and minutes before it exploded

SpaceX's Starship Serial Number 10 survived its first high altitude test that sent the massive stainless steal rocket six miles in the air, followed by a 'soft' landing on the launch pad. Here it is moments before touching down and minutes before it exploded

SpaceX’s Starship Serial Number 10 survived its first high altitude test that sent the massive stainless steal rocket six miles in the air, followed by a ‘soft’ landing on the launch pad. Here it is moments before touching down and minutes before it exploded

 SN10 is nothing more than a pile of rubble, but the firm may have been able to capture all the data it needed and could announced the mission as a success – just as Musk did when the first prototype exploded.

SN8 took to the skies on December 10 – marking the first high altitude attempt of a Starship prototype.

The rocket hit all the marks including shutting down its Raptor engines, reaching an altitude of 7.8 miles and performing the belly flop.

The only thing it was unable to perfect was the landing, but Musk said previously that the rocket was unlikely to land safely.

The moment the rocket touched down, it ignited in flames and left nothing behind but its nose cone. 

Then came the next prototype, SN9, which SpaceX had high hopes of landing when it attempted its high altitude test flight in February.

The latest prototype reached the six-mile mark four minutes into its flight when it hovered above the Earth using a single engine before turning on its side for the 'belly hop.'

The latest prototype reached the six-mile mark four minutes into its flight when it hovered above the Earth using a single engine before turning on its side for the 'belly hop.'

The latest prototype reached the six-mile mark four minutes into its flight when it hovered above the Earth using a single engine before turning on its side for the ‘belly hop.’

SpaceX 's Starship Serial Number 10 (SN10) aborted its first high altitude test flight moments after igniting its powerful Raptor engines

SpaceX 's Starship Serial Number 10 (SN10) aborted its first high altitude test flight moments after igniting its powerful Raptor engines

SpaceX ‘s Starship Serial Number 10 (SN10) aborted its first high altitude test flight moments after igniting its powerful Raptor engines

This time the rocket was  unable to maneuver into the vertical position before landing on the launch pad, hindering its ability to stick the landing.

It landed with a deafening crash, and exploded into bright orange flames and a dust cloud, but the fire did not spread.

Starship is about the size of a 15-story building that is constructed of stainless steal, which keeps the mechanics cool while the rocket fills with heat and soar through the sky. 

SpaceX’s SN8 (pictured) suffered the same fate in December, but was able to turn in time before reaching the launch pad

SpaceX’s SN8 (pictured) suffered the same fate in December, but was able to turn in time before reaching the launch pad

SN9 was unable to maneuver into the vertical position before landing on the launch pad, hindering its ability to stick the landing

The development of Starship has been rapid, with new prototypes and next generation models developed concurrently to allow for quick changes.

In the past year alone SpaceX has completed two low-altitude flight tests with SN5 and SN6 and over 16,000 seconds of run time during ground engine starts.

Musk recently an ambitious plan to get humans on Mars by 2026 – seven years before NASA aims to land astronauts on the Red Planet.

And Starship rockets are key players in turning that dream into a reality.

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