SpaceX suffered an apparent setback Monday with one of its Starship boosters, with video captured by NASASpaceFlight.com showing what appeared to be a fiery explosion under a Super Heavy booster.
“Yeah, actually not good. Team is assessing damage,” Elon Musk, chief executive of Space Exploration Technologies Corp., the formal name for SpaceX, said in a tweet in response to the video.
He added that cryogenic fuel, a type of propellant that is kept at very cold temperatures, creates an added challenge, “as it evaporates to create fuel-air explosion risk” when oxygen is partially present in the atmosphere, like on Earth.
SpaceX has been working toward the first orbital test launch of the Starship, a massive, two-stage rocket system that Musk has said will drive down costs to get to orbit. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, meanwhile, has hired Starship to take future astronauts down to the surface of the moon from lunar orbit.