Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX, said earlier this month that a pipe in a rocket booster prototype flattened out of shape as a result of an incident during a test. In Boca Chica, Texas, SpaceX is currently developing and testing the Starship next-generation launch system. Earlier this month, the company moved its booster prototype from the launch pad to its development facilities following an incident that caused a massive fireball to form at the rocket’s base.
The test taken was the pressurization of the Booster 7 prototype from Starship. It was carried out by SpaceX in April and soon after the test, unconfirmed pictures began to circulate on social media sites stating that the test had caused Booster 7’s downcomer pipe to flatten out. The fuel is delivered to the rocket engines through a pipe called a Downcomer, which must pass through the liquid oxygen tank because the liquid methane tank is situated on top of it.
However, SpaceX was able to return the 230-foot-tall rocket to its facilities, repair it, and then bring it back to the launch site in just two weeks, staying true to its motive of progressing quickly. Now, Mr. Musk confirmed the incident in an interview with Everyday Astronaut posted on YouTube.
Elon Musk stated that:
We had a slight issue with the Booster 7 test where we collapsed part of the LOX transfer tube. So we’re gonna go in and repair the LOX transfer tube that collapsed. So that will probably take us a week to fix.
Musk revealed details on the igniter design for his company’s most recent rocket engine during the interview. The SpaceX Raptor 2 engines that will power the Starship are in charge of lighting the pre-mixed fuel and oxidizer in any engine.
Musk added that SpaceX’s “secret sauce” for the Raptor 2’s ignition is that it has allowed the tech giants to reduce complexity, failure modes, engine weight, expenses, and improve ignition reliability. SpaceX has also seen several failures in its earlier attempts, and these serve as a learning experience for the company to advance technology and fix defects.