Observers accompanying the work of removing the rubble from the Starship SN10, which exploded this Wednesday (3) after a successful test and landing, witnessed a scene worthy of a tale cyberpunk: the wreckage of a spaceship being inspected by a robot dog.
In order not to expose employees to a potential fuel or toxic gas leak, SpaceX used a Spot robot dog, from Boston Dynamics, to observe the debris. The scene was captured on video and posted on the profile @SpacePadreIsle on twitter.
Judging by the video, the robot has a customized set of sensors in a "tower" on its back. Other images, published on the channel NasaSpaceFlight on YouTube, show that the robot is called Zeus and lives in a red “little house” like that of Snoopy, a character in the comics that is associated with the American space program for decades.
Explosion “seen” from afar
The SN10 explosion, which occurred ten minutes after an apparently successful landing, was so intense that it was recorded on a weather radar that was observing the region. It is the yellow-orange “spot” that appears moving from the center to the left in the animation below:
Despite the explosion, the SN10 flight can be considered successful, since the spacecraft has fulfilled the test objectives: take off to 10 km in altitude, hover in the air for a few seconds, return to the ground in a “belly” flight, reorient and land in an upright position.
The cause of the SN10 explosion is not yet known. One theory is that the "legs" that support the spacecraft on the ground were not positioned correctly, which is plausible since it is possible to observe that the spacecraft was slightly tilted after landing. This imbalance would have caused the weight to be transferred to some structure, such as an internal fuel tank, which could not stand and broke.
Another theory is a fuel leak, which is a mixture of methane and oxygen. At various points in the video, it is possible to see flames surrounding the side of the rocket, including several seconds after landing.
Source: Business Insider