After facing failure yesterday, SpaceX was ready to have another go at the 150m ‘hop’ test for its Starship prototype SN5, the company’s latest edition in the Starship line of spacecrafts. However, the test has been aborted yet again as liquid oxygen started spilling out of the craft creating a 100ft plume of white smoke.
The company had selected its development facility in Boca Chica, Texas for the mission, where it intended to ‘hop’ the spacecraft 150 metres in the air. SpaceX tried to conduct the mission yesterday as well, but failed due to a Raptor turbopump spin start valve not opening up, which led to the automatic abortion of the mission. Today’s failure marks the second failed attempt from the company, which might plan another go at the mission later today.
The company was conducting its normal pre launch tests, and had gone through a lot of them before the new orders came into effect. First of all, the ‘Pointy End was Up’, and the ‘Flamey End was Down’, just as SpaceX would have wanted it.
The company was able to actually fuel up the vehicle and was on the way to make the spacecraft hop. Then came the dreaded siren stage. This stage, which is supposed to tell bystanders that the spacecraft will launch in 10 minutes, has become insurmountable for SpaceX, as both the tests failed after the Siren rung. It was after this stage that a huge white cloud was witnessed next to the spaceship, which we know now was liquid oxygen which had started spilling out of the craft, forming a 100ft tall plume. It’s also worth mentioning that the test yesterday reached this stage, and was aborted 45 minutes after the siren was sounded.
The company can refuel the vehicle and hope to make another attempt at a launch today.
If all of this is completed without halt, and the siren does not become the sound of failure yet again, the actual liftoff will happen, that will take the SN5 on a 150 meter ride in the air. If another test takes place today and reaches this stage, it will become the first instance of actual flying by a starship prototype, which have only achieved success in some ground tests so far.
In most space missions, this will be the last step. But then, SpaceX is not like most companies. After liftoff, the company plans to ‘Touchdown’ the spacecraft safe and sound back on the surface of Earth, a revolution in the field of space exploration.