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




  • Who’s watching after SN8, 9, and 10?

    Evan RichardsEvan Richards5 aylar önce
    • I'm watching after SN15, waiting for full stake starship

      Tinkumoni KalitaTinkumoni KalitaAylar önce
  • Starhopper : bless you

    Eloniron SpaceEloniron Space5 aylar önce
  • 1:56

    Agnes OribioAgnes Oribio6 aylar önce
  • If you notice in the video, there is a 🔥 flame burning to the right of the ingnition test. This is for safety for if the liqiluid methane does leak out (which it did). Methane is a poisonous gas to humans, as well as being highly explosive. The best/fastest way to dissipate the poisonous methane gas is to ignite it. This is the reason for the flame being there.

    Michael MaxieMichael Maxie6 aylar önce
  • One of these 3 black tanks got a hole punched in it. I wonder what was pouring out?

    WrecksMoWrecksMo7 aylar önce
  • SN8 made a better firework

    Fodor BarnabásFodor Barnabás7 aylar önce
  • Starhopper has survived so many explosions... of other Starships... why don't they move starhopper farther away?

    Wil BoersmaWil Boersma9 aylar önce
    • +1

      Maxcrazyhorse hMaxcrazyhorse h7 aylar önce
  • It’s probably off-topic for Scott but would like to see an analysis of the tragic Beirut explosion. Some of the videos are draw dropping.

    Ashley MartinAshley MartinYıl önce
  • Oh god, luckly starhopper is fine!

    Mathijs Van WalsumMathijs Van WalsumYıl önce
  • Same as the last time this is stuipness

    David Hinds981David Hinds981Yıl önce
  • why dont they make it really long and thin?

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

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

    peter campbellpeter campbellYıl 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 XYıl önce
  • Why we test.

    The Watchful HunterThe Watchful HunterYıl 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_UKYıl önce
  • only good to see that they test everything and find the mistakes.

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

    hen kohen koYıl önce
  • “I dannae if she can take any more, Captain!” Scottie Manley

    CassieCassieYıl 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 ThomasYıl önce
    • That's why they are still testing the rockets

      A10 WarthogA10 Warthog11 aylar önce
  • Thank you for your clear analysis.

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

      CassieCassieYıl 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 ThomasYıl önce
    • Poor birds...

      hen kohen koYıl önce
  • That was so Kerbal. Maybe they should of used moar struts.

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

    Ptao TomPtao TomYıl önce

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

    den2k88den2k88Yıl önce
  • There are no mistakes in a test only lessons

    Ra SheRa SheYıl 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 EggcornYıl önce
  • What was the last thing that went through that bird's mind?

    SoloSailorSoloSailorYıl önce
  • Is SpaceX allowed to make bombs?

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

    Vorn AmeVorn AmeYıl 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!!”

    teefkay2teefkay2Yıl 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

    ChrisChrisYıl önce
  • Poor birds...

    justin grayjustin grayYıl 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 PhoenixYıl önce
  • Do you really think that SpaceX will achieve the reusabilty they have promised?

    hockeyplay11hockeyplay11Yıl önce
  • this looks like the orion project

    EgglingEgglingYıl 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 SiemensYıl önce
  • Whos going to volunteer to be the first man to ride on this thing?? 🤔🤔

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

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

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

    dueeh nyyudueeh nyyuYıl 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?

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

      PykPykYıl 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 ManleyYıl 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.

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

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

    stardolphin2stardolphin2Yıl 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 BlumYıl önce
    • I notice that the shock wave of the blast extinguished the flare stack. Just like blowing out a birthday candle.

      foopyu noouifoopyu noouiYıl 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 respawnYıl önce
    • moved or more blast shielding added.

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

    Mat's HomebrewMat's HomebrewYıl önce
  • SpaceX gets serious about making people WANT to move.("Hey, if we start blowing shit up, people will sell out and move")

    Zoomer30Zoomer30Yıl önce
  • Starship is a long way from flying..... Well, without the Earth shattering kaboom.

    Zoomer30Zoomer30Yıl önce
  • At least parts of SN4 achieved orbit.

    Zoomer30Zoomer30Yıl 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 LaidlawYıl 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 ^_^

    rabbitslayer42rabbitslayer42Yıl 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 SchwarzYıl 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 JSHMRHYıl önce
  • Very Nice Explosion!

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

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

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

    OnenanallOnenanallYıl 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.

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

    spacecadet35spacecadet35Yıl 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?

    haemsehaemseYıl 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?

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

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

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

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

    chasg76chasg76Yıl önce
  • SN 4's mass simulator has more flight time than SLS. 🚀

    playgroundchooserplaygroundchooserYıl 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 maajYıl önce
  • Hmmm...SpaceXplosion

    embustero71embustero71Yıl önce
  • SpaceX Fail! 😏🙄😎😤

    Scalpers And Scammers Sitting On A Tree KissingScalpers And Scammers Sitting On A Tree KissingYıl önce
    • then.

      gtoss chddygtoss chddyYıl önce
What Can We Learn From The Explosion Of The Latest SpaceX Prototype?