another explosion of a Starship prototype!

A third prototype, precursor of a Starship demonstrator, exploded on the ground during a static ignition test of its engine. Each time, these explosions have in common a failure to pressurize tanks made of stainless steel. The choice of this material to make this future launcher, rather than a carbon fiber alloy, has become a subject of controversy.

Only a few hours after releasing the guide of use of Starship, a third prototype exploded on the ground. At this hour, SpaceX has not yet communicated the reasons for this failure. But, if we trust what we see on the video broadcast of the test, the prototype SN3 would have undergone depressurization before exploding on the ground.

This prototype was to be used for test flights at very low altitudes, which explains the absence of aerodynamic devices such as fins for example. A series of vertical takeoffs and landings at altitudes of more or less 150 meters were planned. These test flights were intended to prepare the flight tests for the next prototype, the SN4, designed to fly higher, at altitudes of a few tens of kilometers.

Has the bet on stainless steel been lost?

If the objective of an orbital flight this year moves away, the question of the choice of Steel … “data-image =” 1/5 / f / 15fc3fb201_111712_acier-inox-inox.jpg “data-url =” stainless-16677/ “data-more =” Read more “>stainless steel like building materials, intelligent materials, ecological materials…
A … “data-image =” “data-url =” .com / sciences / definitions / physique-materiau-15914 / “data-more =” Read more “>material to realize this future space transportation system arises. As a reminder, ” Starship »Designates the space transport vehicle and the upper stage of In general, a launcher consists of several stages (pull-out or composite rocket).
Each floor has: • one or two tanks (fuel and oxidizer) or … “data-url =” “data-more =” Read more “>launcher (freight transport and manned flight). The main stage, that is to say the Ex: they are used in two or four copies on certain Ariane launchers. “Data-url =” booster-3598 / “data-more =” Read the definition “>booster necessary to launch Starship is called “Super Heavy”.

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After three similar explosions, it is nevertheless difficult to formally incriminate this steel and some people wonder if the design and the manufacturing method of the tanks are to be reviewed. A question asked by SpaceX engineers. To check their method of construction, they built individual tanks and carried out in January 2020 pressurization tests until destruction to verify their solidity. During a first test, while the pressure required for a flight is 6 bars, one of the tanks reached a pressure of 7.1 bars before its destruction. During a second, the tank reached a pressure of 8.5 bar before its explosion !

When Elon Musk presented his future space transportation system, the choice to use stainless steel and stainless steel, rather than materials carbon fiber, admittedly surprised most experts, but this was nothing new. The first stages of launchers Ariane 1, 2, 3 and 4 were also constructed with these two materials. At the time, Elon Musk had justified this choice in particular for reasons of cost and mechanical properties and resistance at cryogenic temperatures. To be continued.

SpaceX: new explosion of a prototype of the future Starship launcher

Article by Rémy Decourt published on 02/03/2020

On the SpaceX launch base in Boca Chica (Texas), the SpaceX Starship SN1 prototype, which was to perform suborbital flights, was destroyed during a ground pressure test. The explosion of the craft was followed live from the website offering three basic types of services: … “data-image =” 2 / d / 4 / 2d44ed5fbf_50034607_internet-02.jpg “data-url =” “data-more =” Read more “>Internet of the commune of South Padre Island who, enjoying a view of the SpaceX base, installed cameras there permanently filming the activities of the Boca Chica base

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The development of the Starship, SpaceX’s future all-purpose launch system, is not going as well as expected. It is rather chaotic. In July 2019, the Starhopper, a prototype prototype suborbital, took Oxidation reaction
Oxidation reactions can be slow, as in the case of training … “data-image =” -combustion.jpg “data-url =” “data-more =” Read more “>fire during an engine test. An incident without gravity for the program since this craft will pass the two test flights at very low altitude for which it was designed. On its second and last flight, the Starhopper climbed up to around 150 meters using its Raptor engine. After taking off, Starhopper moved laterally to reach its landing site, located not far from its starting point.

In November 2019, at the launch site of Boca Chica in Texas, the MK1 prototype was badly damaged during a explosion on the ground, rendering it unusable for flight tests. During a filling and pressurization test, an explosion occurred blowing the upper part of the machine which was to perform flights at an altitude of twenty kilometers.

Failure during pressurization?

This weekend in Boca Chica, SpaceX again lost a prototype. Still during a pressure test, the SN1 prototype also exploded, destroying the machine that was to conduct test flights about twenty kilometers above sea level. As shown in the images and video – provided by cameras installed in the town of South Padre Island located about 8.5 km from the site and which has a view of the SpaceX base – one of the prototype tanks would have exploded, causing the structure to implode and the object to fall to the ground in a mass of intermingled sheet metal . The first information circulating on the net would suggest that the tank would have suffered a structural failure during pressurization.

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Sunday, neither SpaceX nor Elon Musk had officially commented on Before the accident: accumulation of risks (probability of causes), … “data-image =” /images/midioriginal/4/0/9/409a56fb3d_125727_accident.jpg “data-url =” “data-more =” Read more ” >accident. That said, if the loss of a prototype before its use is always damaging to the program (if not, what is the point of making one?!), It should not cause any very significant delay in the Starship development schedule. A calendar considered very optimistic by many experts, since SpaceX plans a first flight of the Starship bound for the Moon with a tiny “L” is the satellite of a planet. For example Phobos and Deimos are the two moons of the planet Mars.
The moon
The moon with a capital “L” is the only natural satellite of the Earth; it probably results from a collision 4.4 years ago … “data-image =” .jpg “data-url =” “data-more =” Read more “>Moon from 2022 and a manned mission to the Moon in 2024!

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