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A prototype for SpaceX’s Starship super-rocket was destroyed tonight during a pressure test on its pad at the company’s South Texas facility.

  • Streaming video from Boca Chica showed the silo-shaped tank assembly for the prototype known as Starship SN1 wreathed in light and vapor during the test, which was conducted with inert liquid nitrogen. At about 10 p.m. CT (8 p.m. PT), the tank popped. The structure imploded as it flew into the air, then fell to the ground.
  • Initial reports suggested that the tank suffered a structural failure during pressurization. Information about potential injuries or the extent of damage wasn’t immediately available, but we’ve reached out to SpaceX and will update this item with anything we hear.
  • This prototype was designed only for initial rounds of tests. SpaceX plans to use future Starship prototypes for more ambitious tests that would build up to orbital flights. “Not much to worry about here,” Next Spaceflight’s Michael Baylor tweeted. “Test, fail, fix, test, fail, fix is SpaceX’s game. They will learn from it and get it right.”
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