SpaceX Raptor Rocket Engine Explodes Unexpectedly During Testing

During a recent test, a SpaceX Raptor engine blasted, joining a series of blasts at the space company’s facility. The explosion emitted a green flash, as NASASpaceFlight explains in a video, which happens when “the engine has started to eat into its copper sections.”   In the spaceflight world, it is known as RUD or a “rapid unscheduled disassembly.” Such explosions are pretty common for Elon Musk’s space company as it ejects material at the proverbial wall and checks what sticks, or explodes like in this case.

Not The First Time For SpaceX

This isn’t the first time SpaceX’s rocket has met with such a fate. In May last year, one Starship prototype explosion was so powerful, it was picked up by weather radar. There have been several such explosions over the years. Later in July 2021, an explosion rocked the Booster 7 prototype but did not destroy it. The rocket was meant to push SpaceX’s Starship into orbit. While the explosion seems normal for SpaceX, this doesn’t make them easy on the company’s bank accounts. SpaceX lost over $260 million in 2015 when a Falcon 9 spacecraft blasted shortly after it took off. In 2016, another Falcon 9 exploded, which forced Musk to investigate if sabotage might have been the reason. Well, it’s much better for explosions to happen during testing rather than during actual launches. And while there’s no way to predict these explosions, Musk often suggests that the data collected from such mishaps help the company do a better job next time.

SpaceX Delayed Japanese Moon Lander Launch

SpaceX recently postponed the launch of a Moon lander yet again. The lander was developed by a Japanese space company called ispace. The launch will be registered in the history books as it will be the world’s first private lander to go to the lunar surface. The mission was scheduled to launch aboard a Falcon 9 rocket on December 15 from Cape Canaveral in the US state of Florida. However, SpaceX said more checks on the spacecraft have caused a delay. “After further inspections of the launch vehicle and data review, we’re standing down from tomorrow’s launch of @ispace_inc’s HAKUTO-R Mission 1; a new target launch date will be shared once confirmed,” ispace tweeted.

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