SpaceX aborts 'Starhopper' test launch following methane vent fire

Polycount

TS Evangelist
Staff member

The initial space race ended many years ago, but nowadays, it feels like a new one has begun. This time, though, the contenders are often private companies battling for supremacy instead of world governments. SpaceX is one such company, and it has made quite a bit of progress with its latest space-faring vehicles.

We've seen SpaceX conduct dozens of real and test launches over the past few years, and many of them have been quite successful. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the space firm's latest project. As you can see below in a now-unlisted YouTube video published by SpaceX (a VOD for an official launch livestream), the company's "Starhopper" vehicle failed in its latest "hop" attempt, causing the launch crew to abort the "mission" prematurely.

The reason for the failure was not immediately clear, but several outlets now report that one of Starhopper's methane vents caught fire, which explains the rapid response from SpaceX's engineering team.

If you aren't familiar with Starhopper, the vehicle is intended to be an early prototype version of future manned rockets that will eventually cart real passengers to other planets; Mars and the moon, in particular (CEO Elon Musk has always had a particular fascination with the Red Planet).

If all had gone well, Starhopper would have lifted off for a short flight before landing once again. The vehicle has successfully performed similar tests in the past, but it seems luck wasn't on SpaceX's side this time around.

As usual, though, the company is undeterred by this latest hurdle. "This is a development program," SpaceX engineer Kate Tice reportedly said. "Today was a test flight designed to test the boundaries of the vehicle."

Launch failures are the norm in the space industry, and in some cases, they can even be a positive thing. When a rocket of any kind fails, there's usually a reason for it -- finding that reason quickly and preventing it from being a problem in the future can save quite a bit of time and money in the long run. That's one of the reasons SpaceX performs stress tests like this one so frequently.

At any rate, we look forward to seeing Starhopper's next launch. With a bit of luck and clever engineering, future tests should go much more smoothly.

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wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
I knew there had to be something out there that Musk planned on using as a deflection from the fact that Tesla posted yet another $408M loss for the quarter; unfortunately, for Musk, it seems this was not the deflection he planned.
 

wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
Revisiting the picture in the article, this thing looks like it is held together by thumb tacks, spit, and chewing gum! :laughing:
 

ChrisH1

TS Addict
The fact that things being developed sometimes fail is why it's called 'testing'. The only interesting thing about rockets in that phase is that being bombs held just barely in control, they sometimes fail spectacularly.
 

captaincranky

TechSpot Addict
Revisiting the picture in the article, this thing looks like it is held together by thumb tacks, spit, and chewing gum! :laughing:
No. It's most likely held together by the sheer force of will of Space-X' esteemed and visionary CEO, Elon Musk.

Are we altogether sure it wasn't Musk';s methane vent which caught fire at the press conference?

I thought some of you might want this for wallpaper. I'm sorry I couldn't find it in full 4K for you:

 
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captaincranky

TechSpot Addict
"We've seen SpaceX conduct dozens of real and test launches over the past few years..."

Come on, now.
What's the problem?
As you can see below in a now-unlistedYouTube video published by SpaceX (a VOD for an official launch livestream), the company's "Starhopper" vehicle failed in its latest "hop" attempt, causing the launch crew to abort the "mission" prematurely.
That's the problem. NASA's failures were all over the 6 o'clock news. It would seem this mutt Musk and Space-X tend to downplay theirs.

"As usual, though, the company is undeterred by this latest hurdle. "This is a development program," SpaceX engineer Kate Tice reportedly said. "Today was a test flight designed to test the boundaries of the vehicle."

Apparently, Musk gave his gift of gab to this woman concerning press statements. "This failure is one of our great successes"... (You have my word on that).

But most of all, I don't understand the purpose of, "methane vents". Is this thing going to fart its way to Mars?

 
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Polycount

TS Evangelist
Staff member
That's the problem. NASA's failures were all over the 6 o'clock news. It would seem this mutt Musk and Space-X tend to downplay theirs.

"As usual, though, the company is undeterred by this latest hurdle. "This is a development program," SpaceX engineer Kate Tice reportedly said. "Today was a test flight designed to test the boundaries of the vehicle."

Apparently, Musk gave his gift of gab to this woman concerning press statements. "This failure is one of our great successes"... (You have my word on that).

But most of all, I don't understand the purpose of, "methane vents". Is this thing going to fart its way to Mars?

What, you've never heard of fart-powered rockets before? I believe the idea was popularized in children's TV shows.
 
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