A green flash as engines ignited for landing. A little too much speed. These were the early signs that SpaceX’s SN10 rocket would join its predecessors in a rapid unscheduled disassembly, or RUD, as Elon Musk likes to call it.
On March 3,of the latest prototype for its next-generation Starship rocket. But several minutes later, SN10, as the third prototype to make a high-altitude test flight was known, made an unplanned second flight after it exploded on the landing pad.
Elon Musk explained on Tuesday that the landing was actually a bit more crunchy than soft.
“Impact of 10 m/s (22 miles per hour) crushed legs & part of skirt,” the SpaceX founder tweeted.
A close look at the landing of SN10 reveals it came in a little hot and fast. It even appeared to bounce slightly upon touching down.
But there were also other hints of the rocket’s fate. Photographer Jack Beyer noted an odd green flash as SN10’s Raptor engines re-ignited to perform a flip maneuver just before landing.