SpaceX prototype vehicle releases super wreckage, causing literal prank fire

SpaceX conducted a static test launch of a Starship rocket on Thursday, in which all six aircraft of prey engines participated. The eight-second test seemed to go well, except for the problematic brush fire that followed.

The Starship 24 prototype is currently undergoing testing at SpaceX’s Starbase facility in Boca Chica, Texas. SpaceX is preparing for the upper stage of an upcoming orbital test of the fully integrated Starship system. During yesterday’s static fire test shortly after 5:30 PM ET, the six Raptor engines made a brutal roar and released a massive amount of smoke and dust. After the materials settled and the Starship launch pad appeared, it became apparent that several patches of grass in the area were burning.

Video of the scene, like capturing Powered by NASASpaceflight (the static fire test begins at 5:35:00 in the video above), it showed an unusually long fire near the rocket, and the wider angles revealed fire several hundred feet from the stand. The superheated debris from the test even reached a SpaceX waste container, setting its contents on fire. according to to Teslarati. The fires, which affected protected habitats, required fire crews to come and battle the flames.

Magnified view of the fires near the test stand. (Screenshot: NASASpaceflight)

Saw a previous test on August 9 Only two of the typical Raptor 24 . engines It went into effect, in what was a subdued version of Thursday’s mass test. During the previous day, August 8, SpaceX conducted a limited static fire test of a prototype booster spacecraft, bringing the company closer to an actual orbital launch. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk envisions the all-two-stage Starship rocket as a platform to transport people and cargo to orbit, the Moon and Mars.

Teslarati estimates that Thursday’s six-engine test produced 1,380 tons of thrust, the largest number ever for a test conducted at Starbase. And at eight seconds, it was also one of the longest static fire tests ever performed on the spacecraft’s test bench.

With great power comes great responsibility, however, and SpaceX does not rise to the challenge; The company, as Teslarati points out, is clearly not taking precautions to prevent fires near the launch pad and is instead relying on an unsuitable spray nozzle and high-temperature concrete:

Most likely, the eight long seconds of blast furnace conditions melted the upper layer of surrounding concrete and unleashed a hailstorm of tiny, extremely hot pellets in almost every direction. Indeed, in almost every direction there was something that could easily burn, a fire started. In several locations in the south and west, fires caught fire and began to burn unusually, quickly multiplying into the walls of flames that shot across the terrain. To the east, the debris turned into a SpaceX waste container, which easily caught fire and burned for hours.

In the end, about [10:00 p.m. EDT], the firefighters were able to get close to the safe launch pad and missile, but the main fire had already spread south, out of reach. Instead, they began controlled burns near a SpaceX roadblock, hoping to clear the brush and prevent the (albeit unlikely) fire from proceeding toward SpaceX’s Starbase plant, Boca Chica Village homes, and residents.

More serious precautions, like a water deluge system, would probably prevent this kind of thing from happening. Instead, the massive force, heat, and length of the burn annihilate the concrete beneath the rocket, spreading the superheated debris.

The fire brigade had no problem putting out the flames, but the fires have already affected an environmentally sensitive area The habitat of threatened wildlife. In June, the Federal Aviation Administration Completed its environmental assessment of proposed SpaceX site expansion In Boca Chica, saying that the company can go ahead with its plans, but must complete them 75 Environmental Mitigation Measures.

Among these measures, SpaceX must implement forest fire prevention measures and also use spray water to suppress dust and air pollution. Given what happened yesterday, it’s clear that these items are still unchecked on SpaceX’s to-do list. Not cool, Elon. Not cool.

more: SpaceX signs a deal with NASA to provide 5 more crewed flights to the International Space Station.