Elon Musk has revealed that a SpaceX rocket burst at the testing site of the company's Mars-bound Starship spacecraft, Wednesday.
Tuesday evening's explosion at SpaceX's Starbase facility in Boca Chica, Texas, occurred during a test of all 33 Raptor engines, according to the company's CEO.
The explosion of the B7 Super Heavy Booster was captured by NasaSpaceFlight cameras that were documenting a live broadcast of the experiment.
The B7 rocket is being built for the Starship rocket's first orbital launch. The unmanned mission, scheduled for later this year, will involve stacking the Starship's second stage on top of the booster to propel it into orbit.
It is not the first time a Starship rocket detonated during testing, but it is the first time a Super Heavy Booster malfunctioned in this manner.
Musk responded to a videotape of the explosion on Twitter, describing it as "really bad."
He explained that a fuel-air explosion was caused by a cryogenic fuel leak that evaporated into a fuel-air mixture.
In order to avoid such type of mishaps in the future, the SpaceX CEO stated that regions prone to fuel leaks will be equipped with little sparks that will burn off the surplus fuel as it departs.
"However, this particle issue was unique to the engine spin start test (Raptor has a complex start sequence)," he explained.
"In the future, we will not do a spin start test with all 33 engines at the same time," Musk said.
Additionally, he disclosed that he personally viewed the explosion site on Monday evening, albeit it was too dark to assess the damage in its entirety.
"By flashlight, the vehicle's base appears satisfactory," he remarked. "I was there around an hour ago. For safety, we shut down the base for the night. Will learn more tomorrow morning."
SpaceX has long been preparing for the first orbital test flight of the Starship, but this crucial milestone may be postponed once more.
Multiple Starship rocket prototypes had previously detonated for various causes prior to May 2021, when the company eventually accomplished its first successful launch and landing sequence.
Some boosters burst during ground testing, while others caught fire after Starship had landed after test flights.
Musk predicted that Starship will be "ready to fly" in July last month, but this event will undoubtedly alter the company's schedule.