Science

SpaceX uses robotic dog to investigate wreckage of SN10 that exploded ten minutes after landing

The SpaceX team is clearing a mangled Starship from the launch after the rocket exploded following its first high latitude test Wednesday evening.

The crew returned to the site the day after Starship Serial Number 10 (SN10) exploded 10 minutes following its ‘soft landing’ and they brought along some help – Zeus the robotic dog.

The yellow, four-legged robot was spotted prancing around SpaceX’s testing facility in Boca Chica, Texas Thursday as it inspected the aftermath of the fallen rocket.

Images of the wreckage have also surfaced on Twitter, showing the crushed body of SN10 and smashed Raptor engines – each of which costs $150 million.

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SpaceX returned to the site the day after Starship Serial Number 10 (SN10) exploded 10 minutes following its ‘soft landing’ and they brought along some help – Zeus the robotic dog

SpaceX has yet to reveal what caused SN10 to burst into flames, but some speculate it was caused by landing legs that did not deploy.

SN10 took off at 6:15pm ET and just 15 minutes later, it was on its side and burning on the launch pad.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk praised the rocket when it touched down ‘in one piece,’ but returned to Twitter after it exploded saying, ‘RIP SN10, honorable discharge.’

The prototype’s mission was to gather data on controlling the rocket during re-entry and it was also the only one out of three to stick the landing – so many are calling the launch a success rather than another Starship failure.

The yellow, four-legged robot was spotted prancing around SpaceX’s testing facility in Boca Chica, Texas Thursday as it inspected the aftermath of the fallen rocket

The yellow, four-legged robot was spotted prancing around SpaceX’s testing facility in Boca Chica, Texas Thursday as it inspected the aftermath of the fallen rocket

Images of the wreckage have also surfaced on Twitter, showing the crushed body of SN10 and smashed Raptor engines – each of which costs $150 million

Images of the wreckage have also surfaced on Twitter, showing the crushed body of SN10 and smashed Raptor engines – each of which costs $150 million

Regardless of how the missions is seen, the SpaceX crew returned to the site to pick up the pieces.

The 165-foot tall rocket was seen laying on the ground, with its nose cone shredded to pieces and only one wing flap is still attached.

The three Raptor engines, which cost $150 million each, are mangled among wires and their once round design looks more like a half opened clam.

Image show the team expecting the scene and parts that are littering the launch pad and Zeus trailing behind.

The robot was designed by Boston Dynamics, which is now owned by Hyundai, and first appeared at SpaceX’s facility in June 2020 when the firm was conducting a cryogenic pressure test on the Starship SN7 dome tank prototype.

The robot, which costs $75,000, is suited for indoor or outdoor use, can map its environment, sense and avoid obstacles, climb stairs and open doors.

The SpaceX team is clearing a mangled Starship from the launch after the rocket exploded following its first high latitude test Wednesday evening

The SpaceX team is clearing a mangled Starship from the launch after the rocket exploded following its first high latitude test Wednesday evening

The 165-foot tall rocket was seen laying on the ground, with its nose cone shredded to pieces and only one wing flap is still attached

The 165-foot tall rocket was seen laying on the ground, with its nose cone shredded to pieces and only one wing flap is still attached

It can be charged with sniffing out hydrocarbon leaks, inspecting equipment, taking mechanical readings and completing inspections in areas that might be too dangerous for human workers – which may be why SpaceX unleashed it Thursday.

Sources suggest force of the explosion was enough to send the body of the large rocket – which was slightly tilted to one side after landing – into the air, which caused it to flip and land on the ground on its side.

An object that could be a methane tank was seen lying on the Boca Chica landing area after the fire and smoke from the massive explosion had cleared.

The three Raptor engines, which cost $150 million each, are mangled among wires and their once round design looks more like a half opened clam

The three Raptor engines, which cost $150 million each, are mangled among wires and their once round design looks more like a half opened clam

It's possible that the robot dog, which is equipped with cameras and sensors, is being used to explore environments that no human SpaceX worker can withstand such as the intense heat or chemicals that may have been still lingering after SN10 exploded

It’s possible that the robot dog, which is equipped with cameras and sensors, is being used to explore environments that no human SpaceX worker can withstand such as the intense heat or chemicals that may have been still lingering after SN10 exploded

It’s possible that the robot dog, which is equipped with cameras and sensors, is being used to explore environments that no human SpaceX worker can withstand such as the intense heat or chemicals that may have been still lingering after SN10 exploded. 

Even though SN10 is still laying in rubble on the launch pad, SpaceX is already gearing up to move the next prototype, SN11, to the launch pad its high altitude test.

After learning SN11 is getting ready to head to the launch pad, many may wonder what the fate of the rocket will be – as its three predecessors are nothing more than bits of steel debris. 

SN8 took to the skies on December 10 – marking the first high altitude attempt of a Starship prototype.

Even though SN10 is still laying in rubble on the launch pad, SpaceX is already gearing up to move the next prototype, SN11, to the launch pad its high altitude test. After learning SN11 is getting ready to head to the launch pad, many may wonder what the fate of the rocket will be - as its three predecessors are nothing more than bits of steel debris

Even though SN10 is still laying in rubble on the launch pad, SpaceX is already gearing up to move the next prototype, SN11, to the launch pad its high altitude test. After learning SN11 is getting ready to head to the launch pad, many may wonder what the fate of the rocket will be – as its three predecessors are nothing more than bits of steel debris

The rocket hit all the marks including shutting down its Raptor engines, reaching an altitude of 7.8 miles and performing the belly flop.

The only thing it was unable to perfect was the landing, but Musk said previously that the rocket was unlikely to land safely.

The moment the rocket touched down, it ignited in flames and left nothing behind but its nose cone.

Then came the next prototype, SN9, which SpaceX had high hopes of landing when it attempted its high altitude test flight in February.

This time the rocket was unable to maneuver into the vertical position before landing on the launch pad, hindering its ability to stick the landing.

It landed with a deafening crash, and exploded into bright orange flames and a dust cloud, but the fire did not spread.


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