The latest SpaceX prototype dubbed “SN3” collapsed during a pressurized cryogenic fuel test Thursday evening, according to images uploaded by NASASpaceFlight shows.
The stainless steel dome can be seen wrinkling like a can of soda before tipping into a puff of steam.
“We’ll see what the data review says in the morning, but it could be a test setup error,” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted early this morning.
“Some valves leaked at cryo temperature,” he added. “Fixing & retesting soon. “
According to Space.com, the cryogenic pressure test was intended to test whether the prototype was able to maintain the fuel at extremely low temperatures just before takeoff. Musk revealed that “SN3 passed the room temperature pressure test last night” before collapsing in the next test.
SpaceX’s SN1 prototype suffered a very similar fate, collapsing during a pressure test on February 28.
According to an exclusive report by Ars Technica, Musk was pretty ticked after SN1 disappeared. “We sent a note to the team that it was poorly designed, poorly constructed and poorly verified,” he said. Ars Technica. “This is just a statement of fact. “
This week’s failed pressure test, however, doesn’t seem to represent too many setbacks, as the company is already focused on the laser for its next iteration, SN4.
The news comes after SpaceX published an initial version of a “user guide” for its Starship spacecraft, detailing how it could one day transport up to 100 passengers or 100 tonnes of cargo to distant destinations, including including the Moon or even Mars.
READ MORE: SpaceX Starship SN3 prototype collapses during pressure tank test[[[[Space.com]
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