The test of Starship SN10 was the first major flight test of SpaceX’s prototypes to land on the launchpad, with both SN8 and SN9 crashing upon landing.
However, the landing was not a complete success, as the rocket exploded 10 minutes later. While it is not yet certain what caused the issue, experts have hypothesised that it was due to a rough landing combined with a methane leak.
The test took place at SpaceX’s Boca Chica facility in Texas on Wednesday, which is also where the mechanical hound was spotted.
It is unclear what specifically SpaceX is using the robot dog for, although it appears to have been renamed “Zeus” according to videos from the site. SpaceX did not respond to a request for comment from The Independent.
It is likely the mechanical animal is fitted with cameras and sensors, moving through the testing facility to ensure its safety. One tweet showed SpaceX crews conducting vehicle inspections and cleaning up debris, as well as examining the damage caused to the engines, with Spot standing alongside the human engineers.
Spot recently went on sale for $74,500 (approximately £60,000), and is capable of climbing stairs and crossing rough terrain. Users can control spot through its controller, which provides “easy access” to the robot’s poses and obstacle avoidance technology.