SpaceX prototype part for Starship shown damaged in leaked photos

SpaceX's Starship is facing setbacks due to a damaged component on its Booster 7 rocket booster, which may be scrapped altogether.

Published Tue, Apr 26 2022 4:43 AM CDT   |   Updated Wed, May 18 2022 4:43 AM CDT

A crucial component for SpaceX's upcoming Starship rocket appears to be damaged in a recently circulating image.

The prototype part is a component from the Booster 7 rocket booster for Starship and is responsible for transferring propellant to the vehicle's engines. SpaceX conducted pneumatic tests for Booster 7 earlier this month, in which the vehicle was fully pressurized to ensure it performs according to the required specifications.

The downcomer seems to have imploded during the pressure test, meaning Booster 7 could be scrapped in favor of Booster 8 if the part cannot be removed and replaced. It is unclear how much the damaged part will impact the timeline for Starship's upcoming orbital test flight.

An unverified rumor has suggested that the downcomer's failure resulted from a SpaceX employee leaving it unpressurized during the test while pressure was increasing in the surrounding tanks. This would mean that the Booster 7 prototype was not necessarily subject to a systematic flaw affecting all other prototypes, and an overhaul won't be necessary. However, with work on Booster 8 steadily progressing, if Booster 7 isn't viable, Booster 8 may succeed it sooner rather than later.

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Adam grew up watching his dad play Turok 2 and Age of Empires on a PC in his computer room, and learned a love for video games through him. Adam was always working with computers, which helped build his natural affinity for working with them, leading to him building his own at 14, after taking apart and tinkering with other old computers and tech lying around. Adam has always been very interested in STEM subjects, and is always trying to learn more about the world and the way it works.

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