SpaceX Starship explosion puts brakes on space tourism
The Mark I prototype of SpaceX’s Starship launch vehicle exploded during a test on Wednesday. The explosion blew off part of the bulkhead which went flying as video from the scene shows.
In what the company claims is “not a serious setback,” the Mark I blew its lid during cryogenic testing, to determine whether a craft can withstand extreme cold like that found in the void of space.
The explosion occurred at SpaceX’s test site in Boca Chica, Texas, at approximately 4:30pm Eastern Time. Apart from the ruptured bulkhead, the full extent of the damage is unknown but it is likely the company will scrap the vehicle.
“The purpose of today’s test was to pressurize systems to the max, so the outcome was not completely unexpected. There were no injuries, nor is this a serious setback,” the company said in a statement.
Instead, the company has already shifted focus to the Mark III which is estimated to be completed in three months. Meanwhile, the Mark II vehicle is being developed by a separate SpaceX team based in Florida.
Musk nonchalantly dismissed the Mark I as a “manufacturing pathfinder,” and confirmed that the company will be moving ahead with the other craft.