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.
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