For a little bit, it seemed like SpaceX’s SN10 Starship touched down on March 3rd without issue. Unfortunately, however, the vehicle exploded on its landing pad around a minute later.
Elon Musk has officially revealed what happened. In responses sent to his followers, Elon said the SN10 engine was low on thrust more than likely because of ‘partial helium ingestion from [the] fuel header tank.’ The impact of landing crushed the Starship’s legs and part of its skirt.
Now, SpaceX is working on several fixes to resolve the issue so that SN11 doesn’t share the same fate.
NASA’s Chris Bergin tweeted that the problem is a ‘tricky one.’ This is because the helium ingestion happened due to a pressurization system that was added to the CH4 tank intended to prevent what caused SN8 to explode. Elon said that is a ‘fair point.’