Another test of SpaceX’s next-generation rocket, Starship, ended in failure over the weekend, after a major test article imploded at the company’s facility in Boca Chica, Texas. After being filled with super-cold propellant on Friday night, a Starship test vehicle collapsed in on itself and launched up into the air before hitting the ground and breaking apart, according to video captured by locals in the area.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk acknowledged the failure this morning, joking that the company will “just buff it out.” He blamed the incident on a “puck” at the base of the vehicle that takes on a lot of the “thrust load.” “Don’t shuck the puck!” Musk tweeted.
Video of the test site following the implosion showed the test article crumpled up in pieces on the ground, which means the vehicle likely won’t be salvageable. Musk noted on Twitter that SpaceX will hopefully test a new version of Starship in the next few days. SpaceX will apparently strip that vehicle to “bare minimum” to test the pucks, according to Musk.
Starship is meant to be SpaceX’s next big rocket, designed to take humans to deep-space destinations like the Moon and Mars. The company has been building various prototypes of the rocket at its test facility in Boca Chica for the last couple of years, running tests on the hardware from time to time. In November, a previous test version of Starship burst apart during a pressure test, leading SpaceX to scrap that prototype and move onto the next. Now it seems that SpaceX may do the same again.