SpaceX's Mk1 Rocket Blows Its Top During Cryogenic Pressure Test

SpaceX will move on to the Mk2 rather than fix the damaged rocket.

SpaceX's Starship Mk1 rocket ship blew its top during a cryogenic pressure test Wednesday (20 November) one day after Mk1's testing began.

SpaceX founder and Chief Executive Elon Musk said on Twitter the company will now focus on creating prototypes that are more advanced then try to fix the Mk1. The comments were in reply to a Twitter user who said the accident with the Mk1 is a good time to move on to more advanced versions. 

RELATED: ELON MUSK: SPACEX CAN LAUNCH ROCKETS INTO ORBIT AT A FRACTION OF NASA'S COSTS 

The anomaly occurred at SpaceX's South Texas facilities. Officials at SpaceX told Space.com the results were not unexpected given the purpose of the test was to "pressurize systems to the max."

SpaceX said there were no injuries and it doesn't view it as a setback. "As Elon tweeted, Mk1 served as a valuable manufacturing pathfinder but flight design is quite different. The decision had already been made to not fly this test article and the team is focused on the Mk3 builds, which are designed for orbit," SpaceX told Space.com.

Mk1 was supposed to engage in uncrewed tests 

Musk had previously said the Mk1 would undergo uncrewed test flights hitting altitudes of 12 miles. He targeted the end of 2019 for those tests but with this week's failure its back to the drawing board. 

 The Starship Mk2 is already being constructed at SpaceX's Florida facilities and is equipped with the company's Raptor engines. Ultimately the rocket will be equipped with five Raptor engines as it makes its journey from Earth. It also just recently begun construction on SpaceX's third rocket. 

Advertisement

Stay on top of the latest engineering news

Just enter your email and we’ll take care of the rest:

By subscribing, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. You may unsubscribe at any time.