Click For Photo: https://techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/hopperfire.jpg?w=734
SpaceX’s test vehicle, a small-scale demonstration craft for some Starship components, caught fire after what appears to be a fuel leak or dump following an otherwise successful static fire test last night. It’s not clear why the craft suddenly burst into flames, or whether it was seriously or even superficially damaged.
The “Starhopper,” as SpaceX has been calling it, is a much smaller scale version of the Starship craft the company has in development, meant to test them out in a live-fire environment and even perform short flights called hops — hence the name. It’s being assembled and operated at SpaceX’s facilities in Boca Chica, Texas.
Shiny - Craft - Bit - Toy - Functioning
The big shiny craft looks a bit like a toy, but it’s a functioning rocket and it was planned that this week it would do an untethered hovering flight at some 20 meters, a step above the short tethered flights it has already accomplished. But last night’s test firing of the engines seems to have produced an anomaly.
As captured by several in the SpaceX community, the static fire started and stopped, but flames continued to burn around the base of the engines. A stream of liquid (very likely water) is directed towards it, at which point the whole rocket appears to ignite in an impressive fireball — then does it again a few seconds later. You can see the...
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