SpaceX just deliberately blew up its latest Starship test tank, during a pressure test late Tuesday night at the company’s test site in Boca Chica, Texas.
It was quite the explosion, leaving behind a gigantic plume of white fumes.
“WITNESS!” wrote NASASpaceFlight managing editor Chris Gebhardt in a tweet, referencing the 2015 film “Mad Max: Fury Road.” “Test Tank SN7.1 has entered the gates of Valhalla!”
WITNESS! Test Tank SN7.1 has entered the gates of Valhalla!
Pushed to destruction, on purpose. Hopefully after reaching a good bar rating.
— Chris B – NSF (@NASASpaceflight) September 23, 2020
The tank, dubbed SN7.1, is a more complex version of its predecessor, SN7, which was meant to test the steel alloy construction of the company’s Starship spacecraft’s cryogenic fuel tanks. SpaceX was testing a new steel alloy with SN7.1.
SN7 was also pushed to the brink and failed spectacularly as a result of a rupture from underneath the tank during a test on June 23.
The space company’s prototype spacecraft SN6 “hopped” successfully to an altitude of 150 meters on September 3 — the second hop of its kind.
It’s yet another small, incremental step in SpaceX’s ambitious efforts toward building a rocket capable of ferrying up to 100 passengers, or 100 tons of cargo, to the Moon and even Mars.
Next up is SN8, a prototype spacecraft that’s rapidly approaching its maiden flight. SN8 will look quite a bit more like the Starship renders we’ve seen for a number of years now. It will sport three — as opposed to just one — Raptor engines, a nosecone, and aero surfaces known as “wings.”
SN8 will attempt to fly to a height of 12 miles (20 kilometers) and will even attempt to perform a “belly-flop” maneuver as it begins to fall out of the sky to slow its descent.
READ MORE: SpaceX Starship test tank ready for a second shot at destruction [Teslarati]
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