SpaceX lost the fourth prototype of the launch vehicle Starship during fire tests on a private spaceport in Boca Chica, Texas. A few seconds after successful activation and deactivation of the engines SN4 exploded and burned — the moment was captured on video live stream, the official event company has not commented.
SN4 — for the fourth prototype super-heavy booster Starship that SpaceX is developing as a promising replacement for currently used Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy. Both stages reusable Starship, and the second stage is also integrated with the spacecraft, so you also intend to use for manned missions, in particular, to deliver humans to Mars and return them from there.
All predecessors SN4 was destroyed during the tests: oxygen tank the first prototype burst when pumping fuel in November last year, then in March this year during pressing (pumping of fuel tanks with liquid nitrogen) is exhausted nitrogen tanks of the second prototype, and in April during compression tests injured body of the third prototype.
With SN4, however, the situation was more successful at the end of April the last prototype has withstood the pressure test and in early may, successfully passed the first test firing with a single engine Raptor. However, during a new test, the engine exploded: the Space News reportsthat the explosion occurred after the successful burn and the engine shuts down.
The company planned to send SN4 in a short jump of 150 meters, and in flight for several kilometers plan to send for the fifth prototype, which is now gather: for it use of three motor Raptor.
But there is good news: today closer to the night Moscow time, SpaceX is going to launch a manned spacecraft Crew Dragon to ISS. The launch was postponed from earlier in the week due to weather conditions.