By STACY LIBERATORE (DAILYMAIL.COM)
BOCA Chicago — SpaceX’s Starship Serial Number 10 made a soft landing following its first high altitude test, but minutes later after the stood tall on the launch pad it exploded into a ball of flames.
The Elon Musk firm and the world had celebrated Wednesday’s launch, as it was the first prototype that did not crash and burn following the giant ‘hop.’
The cause of the explosion has not yet been revealed, but Musk has referred to such events as ‘RUDs,’ or Rapid Unplanned Disassembly.
However, prior to the surprise eruption, the SpaceX team deemed the launch a success because the mission was to gather data on controlling the rocket during re-entry.
SN10 followed the same path as both SN8 and SN9, but unlike the previous two, the latest prototype was able to stick the landing.
The world watched at the edge of their seats after the Starship completed the iconic ‘belly flop’ and headed back to the launchpad to swivel itself vertically before touching down.
SN10 soared through the sky, propelled by its three powerful Raptor engines that turned off one by one until a single engine was left.
When the rocket reached the six-mile mark four minutes into its flight, it hovered above the Earth using a single engine before turning on its side for the ‘belly flop.’
As SN10 headed back to the launch pad, it re-orientated itself to land vertically and it touched down as smoke came blowing out from the base – but it has suffered the same fate as its predecessors.
SN10 was patiently waiting on the launch pad all day waiting for its chance to follow in the steps of the SN8 and SN9 prototypes.
The rocket was set to take off at 3:20 p.m. ET, but moments after the rocket ignited its Raptor engines the onboard computers activated an abort due to a detected issue.
Musk tweeted shortly after the halt saying: ‘Launch abort on slightly conservative high thrust limit. Increasing thrust limit & recycling propellant for another flight attempt today.’
The SpaceX team worked quickly detanking and refueling the 165-foot stainless steel vehicle with the hopes that it would take flight later that day – and their wishes were granted. (AI/MailOnline courtesy)