The test flight of the new SpaceX SN8 rocket ended when an engine malfunction caused the rocket to hit hard the ground and explode.
“This suborbital flight is designed to test a number of objectives, from how the vehicle’s three Raptor engines perform to the overall aerodynamic entry capabilities of the vehicle (including its body flaps) to how the vehicle manages the propellant transition. SN8 will also attempt to perform a landing flip maneuver, which would be a first for a vehicle of this size,”
SpaceX said in a statement on its website prior to the test.
SpaceX founder Elon Musk also tweeted prior to the test
”Lot of things need to go right, so maybe 1/3 chance” of success, Musk tweeted last month in response to a question about the test. “But that’s why we have SN 9 & SN10″ rockets”
Musk seemed positive after Wednesday’s crash, too.
Fuel header tank pressure was low during landing burn, causing touchdown velocity to be high & RUD, but we got all the data we needed! Congrats SpaceX team hell yeah!!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 9, 2020
”Successful ascent, switchover to header tanks & precise flap control to landing point!” he tweeted shortly after the explosion. “Fuel header tank pressure was low during landing burn, causing touchdown velocity to be high & RUD, but we got all the data we needed! Congrats SpaceX team hell yeah!!”