In December 2020, another Starship test took place, which also ended with an explosion. But Elon Musk was pleased with the results and thanked the team for a job well done. Since the system managed to register all the necessary data, the head of SpaceX considered those tests successful.
The SN9 prototype gained an altitude of 10 kilometers, and then sequentially turned off three of its engines to begin to freely fall sideways in order to test the new aerodynamic flaps. The rocket was supposed to land vertically.
During the maneuver, one of the Raptor engines failed to ignite and caused the SN9 to fall to the ground and explode at an angle of approximately 45 degrees. The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the explosion.
Elon Musk's company has developed Starship for flights to the Moon and Mars. Its prototype was presented in September 2019. It is a super-heavy launch vehicle that will replace the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy, capable of carrying cargo and astronauts. It consists of two reusable stages, one of which is also a spacecraft.
Although this flight ended with an explosion, engineers received the data necessary to launch the next prototypes better. The company also noted that test flights are needed to improve the understanding and development of a fully reusable transport system for interplanetary flights.