SN10

h
Photo credit: Official SpaceX Image

Overview

Type: Prototype
Class: Starship
Status: Destroyed
Fate: Destroyed by explosion after landing
Year Built: 2021
Year Decomissioned: 2021

History

Construction

SN10 was completed in February 2021, and rolled out to Pad A for testing. SN10 was present with SN9, the first time two high altitude test articles were seen together assembled. After the failed landing of SN9, SN10 was not affected by debris and was able to continue its testing process.

Testing

Two static fires were performed on SN10, the first occurred on 23 February and as a result one of the raptor engines was swapped out. A second test was performed on the 25th which was deemed successful.

In preparation for flight the Flight Termination Sequence was installed on February 28.

On March 3 the first and only test flight took place. In the first attempt at 20:14 UTC the countdown proceeded smoothly until T-00.1 seconds remaining when an abort was called.

The second attempt was made at 23:14 UTC, and the launch, ascent, flip and the landing were all successful marking the first time a Starship prototype had completed the entire sequence.

After SpaceX’s broadcast of the event had ended, SN10 was suddenly destroyed by an explosion while sitting on the landing pad which was captured on several live streams including Everyday Astronaut, NASASpaceflight.com and LabPadre.

Aftermath

On 4 March SpaceX crews began to clean up the pad and remove the wreckage of SN10. The cleanup was documented by Tim Dodd (Everyday Astronaut) and Mary (BocaChicaGal).

Elon Musk indicated that the thrust during landing was low despite it being commanded to be high for reasons unknown leading to the hard touch down, and that they’d never seen it before. Changes would be made for the next landing to have a minimum of two engines all the way to the ground and restart a third engine if either of the initial two had issues.

Later Musk stated that he believed the cause of the low thrust was the engine ingesting helium from the fuel header tank, leading to an impact of 10m/s and that SN11 would have multiple fixes to try and correct these issues.

Milestones

All dates & times are local unless otherwise indicated.

Date Type Location
January 2021 Construction Boca Chica, Texas
Construction completed. Ready to be rolled out to the pad.
29 January 2021 Moved to Pad Suborbital Pad A, Boca Chica, Texas
8 February 2021 Cryogenic Pressure Test Success Suborbital Pad A, Boca Chica, Texas
23 February 2021 Static Fire Issue Suborbital Pad A, Boca Chica, Texas
Triple engine static fire. One raptor engine required replacement.
25 February 2021 Static Fire Success Suborbital Pad A, Boca Chica, Texas
Test #2 performed after replacing raptor engine.
3 March 2021 First Launch Success Suborbital Pad A, Boca Chica, Texas
Flight from launch to landing was a success. SN10 suffered a post-landing explosion.
3 March 2021 Decomissioned Boca Chica, Texas

Test Launches

Date/Time Launch Site Apogee Outcome Duration
3 March 2021 23:14 UTC Suborbital Pad A, Boca Chica, Texas 10km Success 6 minutes 24 seconds
The launch, ascent, flip, controlled descent and landing were all successful.

Raptor Engines

Engine Number Installation Year
SN39 2021
SN50 2021
SN51 2021

Location History

Location Date From Date To
Suborbital Pad A (Boca Chica, Texas) 29 January 2021 3 March 2021
Landing Pad (Boca Chica, Texas) 3 March 2021 3 March 2021


Related

More Information

UTC Time

Friday, 30-Jul-21 15:45:17 UTC

Boca Chica Local Time

Friday, 30-Jul-21 10:45:17 CDT