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SpaceX’s Starship rocket starts a blaze in protected habitat during static fire test

SpaceX’s Starship Rocket Starts Fire in Protected Habitat Surrounding Starbase During Static Fire Test

  • SpaceX performed a static fire test on its Starship Serial Number 24 (SN24)
  • The test, although considered a success, caused a fire around the site
  • It is believed that the powerful thrust melted the concrete on which the rocket stands
  • The molten concrete was then launched into the surrounding terrain

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SpaceX’s Starship Serial Number 24 (SN24) started an intense grass fire after it performed an eight-second static fire test that released more than 1,000 tons of thrust and likely melted the concrete beneath the rocket, some speculate.

The molten blobs were then launched more than 100 meters from the rocket and fell into a dumpster and into the protected habitat around Starbase in Boca China, Texas.

The fire brigade arrived on the spot and fought the flames until late in the evening.

SpaceX received the green light from the Federal Aviation Administration in June to launch its Starship rocket after being grounded for nearly a year over concerns about the environmental impact of such tests.

One of the conditions for approval is that the company must take measures to prevent wildfires and also use spray water to suppress dust and air pollution — and Thursday’s fire suggests that SpaceX has yet to meet this requirement.

SpaceX's Starship Serial Number 24 (SN24) started an intense grass fire after it performed an eight-second static burn test

SpaceX’s Starship Serial Number 24 (SN24) started an intense grass fire after it performed an eight-second static burn test

The static fire test began just after 5:30 p.m. ET, which is a critical test to ensure the upper stage is ready for its first orbital launch — for which CEO Elon Musk has yet to set a date.

SN24 had another successful static fire test on August 9, but only two of the raptor engines burned during this event.

There were several tests throughout the month, but Teslaratic reports that they were all considered failures.

This forced SpaceX to replace three of the engines earlier this month and the effort paid off, as the world saw a successful test – although it caused a major grass fire.

Teslarati also estimates that the latest static fire test produced 1,380 tons of thrust, which is believed to be the most thrust ever for a test done at Starbase.

The media suggests that the powerful thrust may have melted the top layer of concrete the rocket is standing on.

The static fire test is critical to ensure the upper stage is ready for an orbital launch.  SpaceX has not yet given a date for the mission

The static fire test is critical to ensure the upper stage is ready for an orbital launch.  SpaceX has not yet given a date for the mission

The static fire test is critical to ensure the upper stage is ready for an orbital launch. SpaceX has not yet given a date for the mission

The static fire test began shortly after 5:30 p.m. ET, with the six engines ignited

The static fire test began shortly after 5:30 p.m. ET, with the six engines ignited

The static fire test began shortly after 5:30 p.m. ET, with the six engines ignited

And these molten blobs were flown hundreds of feet from Starship and started the fire.

All areas around the test site were on fire, even a SpaceX container was in flames, which lasted a few hours.

Musk’s Starship just saw another fire in July — the rocket was engulfed by a massive fireball during a July 11 ground test.

Footage shows a powerful fireball enveloping the bottom of the rocket, sending splinters flying into the air, dramatically shaking the camera’s vantage point.

The last spaceship to fly was serial number 15 (SN 15) on May 5, 2021 and it landed nominally.

However, not all rockets have returned to Earth in one piece.

The previous test flight, on March 31 last year, ended with SN11 in pieces on the launch pad.

SN10 was the first of the previous four spacecraft to survive the landing, but the massive rocket exploded about 10 minutes later due to a methane leak.

Fire, smoke and debris shot from the bottom and it could be seen from miles away

Fire, smoke and debris shot from the bottom and it could be seen from miles away

Fire, smoke and debris shot from the bottom and it could be seen from miles away

The smoke from the test engulfed the rocket and test facility in Boca Chica, Texas

The smoke from the test engulfed the rocket and test facility in Boca Chica, Texas

The smoke from the test engulfed the rocket and test facility in Boca Chica, Texas

The outage occurred after SpaceX declared it a success, while SN10 flew and flipped – without crashing and burning like the previous prototypes SN8 and SN9. Musk praised the missile for “landing in one piece” in a tweet.

And both SN8 and SN9 exploded in a fireball the moment they hit the ground — and they both caused FAA ratings.

SpaceX plans to send humans to Mars using a two-stage spacecraft consisting of Starship (the passenger compartment) and the Super Heavy rocket booster.

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