The super heavy rocket next generation of SpaceX it suffered an explosion during pre-launch tests on Monday afternoon.
Images of the dramatic explosion were shared by NASASpaceflight, which was broadcasting the test live from SpaceX’s Starbase facility in Boca Chica, Texas.
Yeah, actually not good. Team is assessing damage.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 11, 2022
Despite the force of the explosion, which occurred at the base of the rocket, the vehicle appeared to remain intact. But for more than an hour afterwards, smoke could be seen rising from where the explosion took place.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk described the incident as “not good” and said his team is now assessing the extent of any damage. Engineers will also be interested in finding out what went wrong.
It’s too early to say whether the explosion will cause SpaceX to delay the maiden launch of the Super Heavy, which is expected to one day send the Starship spacecraft on manned trips to the Moon and even Mars.
The spaceflight company recently passed an environmental review by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), paving the way for SpaceX to use its Starbase site for rocket launches once it has completed a list of specific actions set forth by the FAA. . They include keeping the local community informed of work on the site and monitoring nearby animal and plant populations to ensure they are not negatively affected by release events.
Following the completion of the review, Musk tweeted that the Super Heavy spacecraft and Starship, collectively known as Starship, would be ready for the first orbital test flight later this month.
However, the launch pad explosion on Monday may push any launch plans to August or possibly beyond.
The test flight is highly anticipated as the 392-foot-tall vehicle will be the most powerful rocket ever flown when it finally lifts off the ground. Thirty-three Raptor engines will create 17 million pounds of thrust, more than double that of the Saturn V rocket that sent astronauts to the Moon, and almost double that offered by NASA’s next-generation SLS rocket, which could take its first orbital flight later this month.