For a short while after SpaceX’s SN10 Starship touched down, it seemed like the prototype made it out of its test flight unscathed and it later resulted in explosion as revealed by Elon Musk and his team. The vehicle exploded on its landing pad around a minute later, though, creating a massive inferno like its predecessors did. Now, Elon Musk has revealed what went wrong in responses sent to followers on Twitter. The SpaceX chief said the SN10 starship engine was low on thrust probably due to “partial helium ingestion from [the] fuel header tank” and that the impact crushed the rocket’s legs and part of its skirt which resulted in the explosion. SpaceX is now working on multiple fixes for the issue so that it doesn’t affect SN10’s successor, the SN11, anymore.
Chris Bergin of NASA Spaceflight tweeted that the issue is a “tricky one,” seeing as the helium ingestion was caused by the pressurization system added to the CH4 tank to prevent what caused SN8 Starship’s explosion, Elon Musk said that’s a “fair point,” and he approved the change to the starship because it sounded good at the time.