Prior to the barge pressure test in early November, Musk said SpaceX performed “initial tests with the cryogenic propellant” that “actually look quite positive.”
“We have not seen any leaks or major issues,” he added.
If the company has already pumped methane into the spherical tank before, it stands to reason that it will try again to get even more data on its performance for incorporating into a flight version.
Business Insider asked a SpaceX representative for more details on the upcoming “full cryo test”, which is presumably when the carbon-fiber fuel tank will be pumped full of a liquid methane.
However, the company declined to tell us more about that test, when it would occur, or what cryogenic liquid it’d be using.
Whatever the case, the fact that it’s happening on ocean barge is telling: It says there’s a chance the device could not just merely leak but burst or explode. If no one is around and it does, the shrapnel (and possibly flames) can’t hurt anyone.
After all, SpaceX does have a history of testing its gear on ocean barges, sometimes with catastrophic effect: