SpaceX’s Starship rocket starts fire in sheltered habitat during static fire test

SpaceX's serial number 24 (SN24) spacecraft started an intense grass fire after conducting an eight-second static fire test

SpaceX’s Starship rocket starts fire in protected habitat surrounding starbase during static fire test

  • SpaceX conducted a static fire test on its Starship Serial Number 24 (SN24)
  • The test, although considered a success, caused a fire around the site
  • The powerful thrust is believed to have melted the concrete on which the rocket rests
  • The molten concrete was then poured into the surrounding grounds

SpaceX’s serial number 24 (SN24) spacecraft started a massive grass fire after conducting an eight-second static fire test that released more than 1,000 tons of thrust and likely melted the concrete below the rocket, some speculate.

Molten droplets were then thrown more than 300 feet from the rocket, landing in a container and in the protected habitat surrounding Starbase in Boca China, Texas.

Fire crews were dispatched to the scene and fought the flames until the afternoon.

The Federal Aviation Administration gave SpaceX the green light in June to launch its Starship rocket after being blocked for nearly a year over concerns about how such tests affect the environment.

One of the stipulations of the approval is that the company must implement wildfire prevention measures and also use water spray to suppress dust and air pollution, and Thursday’s fire suggests SpaceX has not yet met this requirement.

SpaceX’s serial number 24 (SN24) spacecraft started an intense grass fire after conducting an eight-second static fire test

The static fire test began just after 5:30 p.m. ET, which is a crucial test to ensure the upper stage is ready for its first orbital launch, for which CEO Elon Musk has yet to set a date

On August 9, SN24 had another successful static fire test, but this event saw only two of the raptor engines ignite.

There were several tests throughout the month, but Teslarati reports that all were deemed failures.

This forced SpaceX to replace three of the engines earlier this month, and the effort paid off as the world saw a successful test, albeit one that resulted in a large grass fire.

Teslarati also estimates that the latest static fire test produced 1,380 tons of thrust, which is believed to be the maximum for a test done at Starbase.

The media suggest that the powerful thrust may have been the top layer of concrete in which the rocket is located.

The static fire test is crucial to ensure the upper stage is ready for an orbital launch.  SpaceX has not yet provided a date for the mission

The static fire test is crucial to ensure the upper stage is ready for an orbital launch. SpaceX has not yet provided a date for the mission

The static fire test began shortly after 5:30 pm ET, which saw all six engines ignite

The static fire test began shortly after 5:30 pm ET, which saw all six engines ignite

And those molten blobs are what were sent flying hundreds of meters away from the starship and started the fire.

All areas surrounding the test site were on fire, even a SpaceX garbage container was on fire, which lasted for several hours.

Musk’s spacecraft saw another fire in July: the rocket was engulfed in a huge fireball during a ground test on July 11.

The footage shows a powerful fireball engulfing the bottom of the rocket and sending debris flying, dramatically shaking the camera’s viewpoint.

The last spacecraft to fly was serial number 15 (SN 15) on 5 May 2021 and nominally landed.

However, not all rockets have returned to Earth in one piece.

The previous test flight, on March 31 last year, ended with SN11 in pieces on the launch pad.

SN10 was the first of the previous four starships to survive landing, but the massive rocket exploded approximately 10 minutes later due to a methane leak.

Fire, smoke and debris rose from the bottom and could be seen from miles away

Fire, smoke and debris rose from the bottom and could be seen from miles away

Smoke from the test engulfed the rocket and the test facility in Boca Chica, Texas

Smoke from the test engulfed the rocket and the test facility in Boca Chica, Texas

The failure came after SpaceX declared it a success, as SN10 flew and spun around, not crashing and burning like earlier prototypes SN8 and SN9. Musk praised the rocket in a tweet for “landing in one piece.”

And both SN8 and SN9 exploded in a ball of flame the moment they hit the ground, both prompting FAA reviews.

SpaceX plans to send humans to Mars using a two-stage spacecraft consisting of the Starship (the passenger transport section) and the Super Heavy booster rocket.

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