The SpaceX team conducted high-altitude flight tests of the Starship rocket with serial number 9 (SN9). This is the second high-altitude suborbital flight test of a prototype Martian spacecraft conducted in Cameron County, Texas.
Starship SN9 was propelled during the ascent by three Raptor engines, each of which is shut down sequentially before the craft reaches its apogee - about 10 km.
The prototype landed under active aerodynamic control, carried out by the independent movement of two forward and two aft flaps. All four flaps are activated by the on-board computer to control the Starship's position during flight and ensure an accurate landing at the intended location. During the landing, an explosion occurred, as a result of which the prototype was completely destroyed.
despite the explosion, this flight was not unsuccessful. Starship is still an early prototype and SpaceX engineers have gathered all the data they need. Also note that SpaceX's next prototype spacecraft, SN10, is already on the launch pad to begin its flight tests.
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Controlled aerodynamic descent with hull flaps and vertical landing capability, coupled with refueling in space, are critical to landing a starship at destinations across the solar system, where there are no prepared surfaces or runways, and returning to Earth. This capability will create a fully reusable transport system designed to transport both crew and cargo on long interplanetary flights, and help humanity return to the Moon, go to Mars and beyond.