On Wednesday, March 3, SpaceX launched their SN 10 Starship. They conducted high-altitude flight test of the prototype from their site in Cameron County, Texas.
Like the previous tests, SN10 was powered by three Raptor engines, each shutting down in sequence prior to the vehicle reaching apogee – approximately 10 km in altitude. “SN10 performed a propellant transition to the internal header tanks, which hold landing propellant, before reorienting itself for reentry and a controlled aerodynamic descent,” a company statement said.
The Starship prototype made a controlled descent, all four flaps were actuated by an onboard flight computer to control Starship’s attitude during flight and it landed at the intended location – which the company said was the purpose of the test flight. “SN10’s Raptor engines reignited as the vehicle performed the landing flip maneuver immediately before successfully touching down on the landing pad,” the company statement continued.
However, the craft then caught fire and ultimately was destroyed. As the optimistic company put it, the craft “experienced a rapid unscheduled disassembly shortly after landing.”