What Can We Learn From The Explosion Of The Latest SpaceX Prototype?

After several weeks of testing Starship prototype SN4 something went wrong minutes after a successful engine test. A massive fuel leak caused an explosion which wrecked the vehicle and cause significant damage to the test stand. As far as we know nobody was injured and there are prototypes already waiting in the wings to continue tests.
I believe that unlike the first few failures due to welding quality this is not related to the manufacture of the rocket, but in the way it's connected to the ground service equipment that resulted in the propellent loading lines coming loose and spraying liquid methane everywhere.
None of this footage is mine, it's all captured by amateurs in the area, please check out their original work and support them, heck it's worth watching the original stream just for the raw reaction to the event:
Everyday Astronaut




  • W O W . . . That’s a really good shot of the Explosion 💥 ⚡️🔥🌋🚀 here at 10:00 🕙 😱🤭

    Rob FraleyRob Fraley24 gün önce
  • Why is the Thunderbirds fast music (Fireflash) playing in my head when watching it - Gerry Anderson would be proud 😁

    peter campbellpeter campbell24 gün önce
  • OMG I love it so much?

    soinhu foitusoinhu foitu26 gün önce
  • Methane would just burn if it did not also have LOX. The LOX mixture fueled the explosion. If LOX (at higher pressure than the liquid methane) found it's way into the methane tank trough failed piping it would auto-ignite and explode. There is not enough oxygen in ambient air for liquid methane flashing off to explode.

    Solexx XSolexx X27 gün önce
  • Why we test.

    The Watchful HunterThe Watchful Hunter28 gün önce
    • Continuous Delivery/Continuous Integration in rocket development. Heh, cool!

      soinhu foitusoinhu foitu26 gün önce
  • That it’s a huge waste of money it’s not needed

    Fooks Lee HoFooks Lee Ho28 gün önce
  • “I dannae if she can take any more, Captain!” Scottie Manley

    soinu foigsoinu foig29 gün önce
  • 70 miles per hour not 17.

    Sakurako HikariSakurako Hikari29 gün önce
  • This is what Elon refers to as a RUD, Rapid unscheduled Disassembly. Scott can you calculate the speed at which the MS hit the ground for us. Cheers.

    Mac_UKMac_UKAylar önce
    • Is SpaceX allowed to make bombs?

      soinu foigsoinu foig29 gün önce
  • only good to see that they test everything and find the mistakes.

    Estelon AgarwaenEstelon AgarwaenAylar önce
  • Analyses the heck out of it. :)

    hen kohen koAylar önce
  • spectacular - simply awesome.

    mikin liroumikin lirouAylar önce
  • “I dannae if she can take any more, Captain!” Scottie Manley

    CassieCassieAylar önce
  • If they can't get their procedures correct here on Earth, how are they going to handle the procedures for the return trip from Mars? The last thing anyone wants to happen is to have 100 people who have just spent a year on Mars blow up when they try to come back home!

    Terry ThomasTerry ThomasAylar önce
    • mass simulator coming from the fuel feeder tube that goes through the center of the rocket?

      mikin liroumikin lirouAylar önce
  • Thank you for your clear analysis.

    Chris - DJ Dapper Dan - BrownChris - DJ Dapper Dan - BrownAylar önce
    • Do you really think that SpaceX will achieve the reusabilty they have promised?

      CassieCassieAylar önce
  • The videos would be *much* more informative if the camera operators improved their composition: less foreground water in the shot and more blank space above the test stand.

    Terry ThomasTerry ThomasAylar önce
    • Poor birds...

      hen kohen koAylar önce
  • They should put Falcon heavy lift boosters on the outside of their water tank set up they got going there. That's so the internal structurer won't fail from the upward force from the raptors when the tanks depressurize, that could make it fail. That's what I see in my mind. Rivets failed causing a leak from the raptor tests upward force #4. No internal vertical structural support just relying on the thrust puc and pressurized tanks to prevent the raptor from putting all the upward forces on the tanks. The thrust puc I think it needs some internal titanium vertical I beams the entire length for support to take the upward pressure off the tanks. Starhopper was its limits for stainless steel pressure. Iets hope 5 won't be a bigger explosion.. I think it has an internal structural flaw for such a heavy material.

    James GillespieJames GillespieAylar önce
  • That was so Kerbal. Maybe they should of used moar struts.

    Blazed Gaming KRBlazed Gaming KRAylar önce
  • I learned that explosions almost always look cool

    Ptao TomPtao TomAylar önce

    Pixel IssuePixel IssueAylar önce
  • Continuous Delivery/Continuous Integration in rocket development. Heh, cool!

    den2k88den2k88Aylar önce
  • There are no mistakes in a test only lessons

    Ra SheRa SheAylar önce
  • Thanks Scott. The mass simulator was probably mostly energized upward by the tank dome. The gas jets would have a poor impedance match to the mass simulator in free air. So it was mostly propelled a quick impulse while the tank was still intact. Once the tank is broken, pressure has other paths of much lower resistance to escape from. It's the same reason why the bullets of firearm cartridges ignited (outside of a gun) in a fire don't go very far. 8:26 the shock wave is visible.

    Loanword EggcornLoanword EggcornAylar önce
  • What was the last thing that went through that bird's mind?

    SoloSailorSoloSailorAylar önce
  • Is SpaceX allowed to make bombs?

    Choco LaterChoco LaterAylar önce
  • We learn: the explosions get bigger and bigger.

    Vorn AmeVorn AmeAylar önce
  • Scott great analysis excellent observations, great analysis _” they’re running these tests with a partially filled tank _*_as a safety measure_*_ “_ Engineer’comment in notebook: “note: safety measures ... inadequate!!! Someone add an additional shut off valve to the methane feed line with a BIG RED Emergy “methane shut-off button in the Control Room, and instructions that “if you see methane being sprayed all around the base of the rocket, Hit .the .button!!”

    teefkay2teefkay2Aylar önce
  • 1:40 "they're building them quickly they're testing them quickly and they're getting destroyed quickly" is what you shold have said

    ChrisChrisAylar önce
  • Poor birds...

    justin grayjustin grayAylar önce
  • So is the liquid methane tank on the bottom or top of the rocket, I always imagined liquid methane on the bottom. If liquid methane is on the bottom is the pressure launching the mass simulator coming from the fuel feeder tube that goes through the center of the rocket?

    The Lone PhoenixThe Lone PhoenixAylar önce
  • Do you really think that SpaceX will achieve the reusabilty they have promised?

    hockeyplay11hockeyplay11Aylar önce
  • this looks like the orion project

    David M.David M.Aylar önce
  • Take-Two Interactive has killed Star Theory and poached their employees. Will you talk about this? Please boycott _Kerbal Space Program 2._ Take-Two doesn't deserve our money.

    Carl SiemensCarl SiemensAylar önce
  • Whos going to volunteer to be the first man to ride on this thing?? 🤔🤔

    rick caryrick caryAylar önce
  • 8:20 "If you look at the left side of the BOOSTER"

    KonstantinKonstantinAylar önce
  • man i have that same problem after eating at taco bell

    Twig 46Twig 46Aylar önce
  • In the original audio: "Oh, that was not nominal"... hahahaha

    dueeh nyyudueeh nyyuAylar önce
  • 11:16 what's going on with the distortion in this video? Not only is everything wobbly, but the outline of the stack seems to be wobbling separately from everything inside the outline... is that just atmospheric distortion?

    ZaleucusZaleucusAylar önce
    • @Scott Manley Oh, maybe it's handheld? It looks super interesting for sure.

      ZaleucusZaleucusAylar önce
    • Yeah that’s in one of the observer’s videos, I think they use some digital image stabilization filter that looks for edges? It’s off for sure.

      Scott ManleyScott ManleyAylar önce
  • Does anyone think that a new gimbaled GEM solid booster and a light and cheap (except for the reusable and recoverable engines) liquid engine is possible? (Done with steerable parachutes, retractable engine bells, reentry shielding and then getting hooked by helicopter and touching down onto a net on a barge with a helipad) Possible... right?

    tom lutom luAylar önce
  • Is the approach a bit too experimental? If they have the funds to do it I guess it is ok. A reminder that when the Germans back in the days launched the V2 from mobile platforms they dug a hole under the rocket to solve some issues before launching.

    HeadcrabHeadcrabAylar önce
    • so..... SN4 let out a big fart and it lit

      dueeh nyyudueeh nyyuAylar önce
  • Meh. The record still goes to the N-1...

    stardolphin2stardolphin2Aylar önce
  • Thanks for the footage and analysis, Scott, well done by all parties involved. This reminds me of designing, building and flying model rockets back in the early '70s. It was so much fun when things worked perfectly, but still fun in a different way when things went wacko. Each time we learned something, what worked, what did not, where we could save weight and where to increase structural strength. Shredding cardboard and balsa wood is fun, and recovering a raw Grade A Large hen's egg from 1000+ feet unbroken is a design challenge.

    Bob BlumBob BlumAylar önce
    • I notice that the shock wave of the blast extinguished the flare stack. Just like blowing out a birthday candle.

      foopyu noouifoopyu noouiAylar önce
  • So it's True after All these Years! Saturday's Launch was a "Pre-Recorded" Diversion from the Loss of yet Another US Spacecraft. Bummer. ;

    paradigm respawnparadigm respawnAylar önce
    • moved or more blast shielding added.

      foopyu noouifoopyu noouiAylar önce
  • brilliant professional scientific explanations with stunning footage from multiple space geeks - what a fantastic combination!!! 😂

    Mathew ColemanMathew ColemanAylar önce
  • SpaceX gets serious about making people WANT to move.("Hey, if we start blowing shit up, people will sell out and move")

    Zoomer30Zoomer30Aylar önce
  • Starship is a long way from flying..... Well, without the Earth shattering kaboom.

    Zoomer30Zoomer30Aylar önce
  • At least parts of SN4 achieved orbit.

    Zoomer30Zoomer30Aylar önce
  • SN1 was the last ship to fail due to a flaw. SN2 was just made for, and passed cryo test. SN3 failed due to operator error, SN4 operator or ground support equipment failure. I can imagine Elon being annoyed losing the last two ships before a hop with no fault in the ship. Even SN1, the engineers didn't think the thrust puck would work, but put it in anyway.

    Chris LaidlawChris LaidlawAylar önce
  • Great footage. That being said, they need MORE cameras...Like a myth-busters setup at least, 15 angles with at least 5 high-speeds ^_^

    rabbitslayer42rabbitslayer42Aylar önce
  • Everyone fails, winners keep going! Rocket explosions are very common in rocket development due to the complex nature of the machines & all the seams & welds & connectors (tons of failure points) & at that kind of rapid development rate, any kind of glitch in design or fabrication can precipitate an accident like this.

    Aaron SchwarzAaron SchwarzAylar önce
  • Is it possible that the "mass simulator" served two purposes? One, simulate mass, and the second; to prevent the upper tank from going air born upon an explosion like we saw here with this static fire?

    Joshua JSHMRHJoshua JSHMRHAylar önce
  • Thankfully, minimal loss of Kerbals in this event.

    IanIanAylar önce
  • Very Nice Explosion!

    Han SolarHan SolarAylar önce
  • I wonder if any components will be salvageable for them

    Aron BraswellAron BraswellAylar önce
  • so..... SN4 let out a big fart and it lit

    Aron BraswellAron BraswellAylar önce
  • idk.....this looks like a normal day in Kerbal to me lol

    OnenanallOnenanallAylar önce
  • I always wondered if that tank farm was too close. It seems some of the debris punctured at least one of the "three brothers" water tanks. It looks like the whole thing needs to be moved or more blast shielding added.

    RogerWilcoRogerWilcoAylar önce
  • I notice that the shock wave of the blast extinguished the flare stack. Just like blowing out a birthday candle.

    spacecadet35spacecadet35Aylar önce
  • Do they have highspeed cams pointing to the critical locations (with highspeed uplink to save locations)? Do the have any highspeed footage to clearly analyze where the origin of the desasteer is?

    haemsehaemseAylar önce
  • There is a white spot exactly where the methane started gushing out and which didn't appear on older pictures. What does it mean?

    ichglotzTVichglotzTVAylar önce
  • Fuel Air Explosion. Secondary also. Mass simulator hit the ground and splashed liquid fuel on the ground into vapor which then ignited as a secondary FAE. Lots of fuels don't burn readily as liquid, but burn OR EXPLODE easily as a vapor. I won't name names for safety, but you can shove a lit match into some liquid fuels without igniting them and put out the match PROVIDED THERE IS NO VAPOR ABOVE THE LIQUID SURFACE.

    Crixus MaximusCrixus MaximusAylar önce
  • Is the LabPadre footage (10:58) weirdly stabilized? Or is this air turbulence? Ground shake?

    nibblrrrnibblrrrAylar önce
  • SpaceX has been seeing some explosive growth lately.

    vinasu maajvinasu maajAylar önce
  • Now we know why the propellant tanks are horizontal, to reduce impact from explosions. Are they pointed at the rocket?

    rodgersericvrodgersericvAylar önce
  • Thank you, Scott Manley, for the great analyisis! And you were right on the money!

    chasg76chasg76Aylar önce
  • SN 4's mass simulator has more flight time than SLS. 🚀

    playgroundchooserplaygroundchooserAylar önce
    • Speaking of the welds, I know a guy who machined some parts for the custom welding machines they use on those tanks now. They are pretty impressive.

      vinasu maajvinasu maajAylar önce
  • So sn4 completed its test so that’s good.

    JackSpeed 439JackSpeed 439Aylar önce
  • It seems like just 5 min ago we were watching star hopper fly after all the mud that was flung at that. Now sn4 blows as it continues the heritage of the sn series. So sn4 blew, a shame for sure, but not much of a setback really. The sn5 and 6 are a fair way along and sn7 has rings on deck. So all the weak spots in sn4 will have fixes incorporated in all sn’s from hereon in. Also the sn5 that’s better than sn4 ever was plus it’s had flaws fixed will do all the tests whatever they are from the sn4 plus it’s own sn5 tests that are scheduled. So yeah it slows it up but not that much really. The main problem for TRvision creators and watchers is that there is less for us to see. You know the big ticket stuff like engine tests and flights. These just get pushed back. NOT DELAYED as delayed infers that everything on the time line slides. However spacex seems to just condense the tests to achieve more than one goal per test, some tests are superseded and dropped and the tests happen in a shorter time frame and be completed at about the same time that the sn5 tests were meant to be completed anyway. So small delay to the time line but nothing like some are worried about and less test footage to watch on TRvision.

    JackSpeed 439JackSpeed 439Aylar önce
  • Hmmm...SpaceXplosion

    embustero71embustero71Aylar önce
  • No Kerbals were harmed during the making of this film.

    Barry AllardBarry AllardAylar önce
What Can We Learn From The Explosion Of The Latest SpaceX Prototype?