Hundreds of thousands of people tuned in to SpaceX’s live stream of the launch of the SN11. However, those hoping for the first successful landing of a Starship landing were quickly let down as one of the rockets “had issues” on SN11’s ascent, leading to a poor flight. Before it had even touched down, SpaceX engineers knew there would not be a landing as the SN11 was plagued by problems during its flight.
John Insprucker, launch commentator for SpaceX, said during the broadcast: “Starship 11 is not coming back, do not wait for the landing.”
The SN11’s flight was even more problematic than the SN8, SN9 and SN10 flights which all ended in an explosion as they touched back down.
Some fans on Twitter saw the positives in the flight, stating every test is a small step towards Mars.
SamTwits said: “SN11 makes the ultimate sacrifice for mankind’s quest of the continuation of our species. RIP and thanks.”
VardanHere added: “Exploded Mid Air Face. Negative improvement. Tank depressurisation? Or just Bad Weather? Tests are tests for a reason.”
However, others on Twitter expressed disappointment.
Robert_Critter said: “SN11 disintegrated above the ground. We don’t even have any footage of what happened, from SpaceX or the media. This one can definitely be called a failure.
“A bit gutting, but I guess it’s on to SN15! This one has some major upgrades, so hopefully we finally get a safe landing.”
Eric Berger of Ars Technica tweeted: “From some photos, it looks like the belly flop maneuver may not have gone entirely as planned during SN11’s flight. The vehicle broke [sic] appears to have broken apart well above the ground.
“Data is good, but this is not a great day.”
Some people saw the funny side of another Starship explosion.
Tomas Pinto tweeted: “Most expensive fireworks show ever and it was foggy.”
Twitter user F_rmnn tweeted a meme of the penguins from the movie Madagascar with one asking “Kaboom” and another responding “Yes Rico, kaboom”.
SpaceX is wasting no time in readying the next Starship prototype, with the company’s top chief saying the SN15 will be on the launchpad in a matter of days.
He tweeted: “SN15 rolls to launch pad in a few days. It has hundreds of design improvements across structures, avionics/software & engine.
“Hopefully, one of those improvements covers this problem. If not, then retrofit will add a few more days.”