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SpaceX Loses Its Third Starship Prototype During a Cryogenic Test

For a third time, SpaceX lost one of its Starship prototype spacecrafts during a pressure test at the company’s test site in Boca Chica, Texas. Ars Technica reports: This week, SpaceX workers in South Texas loaded the third full-scale Starship prototype — SN3 — onto a test stand at the company’s Boca Chica launch site. On Wednesday night, they pressure-tested the vehicle at ambient temperature with nitrogen, and SN3 performed fine. On Thursday night SpaceX began cryo-testing the vehicle, which means it was loaded again with nitrogen, but this time it was chilled to flight-like temperatures and put under flight-like pressures. Unfortunately, a little after 2am local time, SN3 failed and began to collapse on top of itself. It appeared as if the vehicle may have lost pressurization and become top-heavy. Multiple sources indicated that had these preliminary tests succeeded, SN3 would have attempted a 150-meter flight test as early as next Tuesday. SpaceX founder Elon Musk said on Twitter: “We will see what data review says in the morning, but this may have been a test configuration mistake.” A testing issue would be good in the sense that it means the vehicle itself performed well, and the problem can be more easily addressed.


Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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