The latest Starship SN11 from SpaceX, which made the his test flight last week, he had the same fate as his predecessors. However, the conditions around his own explosion were mysterious, as dense fog and malfunctioning cameras obscured the details.
For this reason, the Elon Musk wanted to give some additional information about the incident. He said in a Twitter post on Monday that the explosion was the result of a fuel leak.
«A (relatively) small CH4 leak resulted in a fire in engine 2 and burned part of the aeroelectronics, making it difficult to attempt to land", He wrote.
The Starship SN11 took off from the company's development center in Texas on March 30 with zero visibility. At first everything went smoothly, as the vehicle climbed to about 10 kilometers from the ground and then returned to Earth. After doing the standard maneuver in preparation for its smooth landing, the built-in cameras froze during SpaceX's live stream.
Other live-action cameras, which operated remotely and showed the landing up close, recorded an orange glow in the fog, followed by a storm of debris that exploded in the area around the landing base.
Two previous prototypes, the SN8 and SN9, also exploded due to an abnormal landing. The SN10 managed to land, but then exploded at the landing base a few minutes later. The Starship SN11 appears to be the first to explode shortly before hitting the ground.
At present, none of the Starship landing attempts can be considered successful as all the spacecraft have been destroyed. However we can be optimistic that the next efforts will go better.
SpaceX will go ahead with the SN15, which reportedly incorporates several upgrades. Musk is quite excited that he chose not to release SN12, SN13 and SN14.
The SN15 has already been assembled and is being prepared for testing before its debut. The hope is that one of the upcoming prototypes will not only survive the landing, but will allow the company to advance its efforts for its first orbital flight by June.
Musk says he certainly does not expect a repeat of the critical leak that led to last week's anomaly.