However, the Super Heavy booster exploded unexpectedly approximately three minutes and 17 seconds into the mission, potentially due to the added strain caused by the warm-up process. In the moments before the explosion, and as the booster completed its reversal maneuver, several Raptor engines experienced problems, failing to reignite while others shut down prematurely, according to at the Explored Space. The flashes visible around the rear of the booster coincided with engine shutdowns, as shown on SpaceX’s graphical display. Sequentially, these engines malfunctioned until the booster suffered a rupture. Although SpaceX has not verified whether Booster 9’s flight termination system was activated, the likelihood that this failure is related to a forced shutdown of a Raptor engine appears quite high, Space Explored explained. SpaceX will need to design a solution, whether it’s a modified hot staging technique, implementing new hardware, or a combination of the two.
December 8, 2023