Elon Musk must have a lot in mind, as SpaceX Tesla's latest rocket burst in flames and crashed in a test flight. The company aimed to land upright after the recent test flight, which took place on February 2. Dubbed 'Starship,' Elon Musk's dream of sending a man to Mars came to a fatal and explosive end.
The spaceship went to a 6 miles altitude and then back to the pad, but when it tried to fire its engines back to a vertical orientation, one engine did not properly ignite. The prototype crashed immediately and left a cloud of smoke in Boca Chica, Texas, near Brownsville.
"We've just got to work on that landing a little bit," said a SpaceX engineer, John Insprucker, via an online broadcast of the test flight, as The New York Times, reported. Fortunately, there are no casualties from this unfortunate event.
Less than a day earlier, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) cleared the SN9 stainless steel rocket for lift-off from Boca Chica, Texas. It launched smoothly around 2:35 PM local time and performed a series of test maneuvers before the event occurred. The good news is, SN10, the company's next prototype rocket, is undamaged.
Since the news broke out, Musk decided to take some time off from Twitter. His presence on microblogging social media has amassed over 44,9 million followers.
Not The First Time
Besides, this is not the first time SpaceX's rocket faced such an explosive end. Faulty welding causes most of these catastrophes, and the team still has plenty of grounds to cover before realizing the dream of Mars.
Last December, Elon Musk and co conducted a test of a rocket prototype. While the test itself was partly successful, the prototype hit the ground too fast before exploding. The stainless spacecraft took off from the launchpad at 5:45 PM and did some maneuvers before tipping over in a controlled glide back to Earth.
Although it ended in a fiery blast, Musk and SpaceX dubbed the experiment as 'successful' and congratulated the team. December was a good step in the right direction, but the recent accident would force the team to rethink twice before sending anyone to Mars.
Dream to Mars
CEO Elon Musk believes that landing a man on Mars will be possible by 2026, as he spoke during an award show webcast from Berlin.
The prediction matched what the CEO previously uttered in 2016. Musk said during the International Austronauticaal Congress that "if things go super well," landing a man on Mars would be possibly possible within "the 10-year timeframe."
"I don't want to say that's when it will occur - there's a huge amount of risk," said the CEO previously in 2016, as reported by CNBC.
While the astronomical company still has a long way to go, these two fatal catastrophes prove that Musk and co are still far from ready.