The most powerful rocket in the history of mankind, SpaceX‘s Starship, lifted off from a site off the coast of South Texas at 9:28 a.m. ET on Thursday, but it detonated in midair before the stages could separate.
On Thursday, the vehicle made its first test flight in history. As if the flight test wasn’t dramatic enough, “Starship experienced a rapid unscheduled disassembly prior to stage separation,” SpaceX wrote on Twitter.
An enormous boom reverberated throughout the shore when the 33-engine booster on board the Super Heavy rocket took flight. Riding on top of the launcher, the Starship spacecraft took off toward the horizon over the Gulf of Mexico.
The Super Heavy rocket booster was programmed to use up its fuel and break away from the Starship spacecraft about two minutes and fifty seconds after liftoff, at which point the booster would be jettisoned into the ocean. The Starship was designed to use its own engines to reach speeds close to orbital space travel in less than six minutes.
Starship’s Definition Of Victory
Even though Thursday’s test resulted in an explosion, it accomplished several of the company’s goals for the vehicle.
The successful escape from the launch site was a big achievement for Starship. Before SpaceX’s launch on Thursday, CEO Elon Musk tried to dampen excitement by declaring, “Success is not what should be expected…”That’s really bonkers.
After the explosion, SpaceX tweeted, “With a test like this, success comes from what we learn, and today’s test will help us improve Starship’s reliability as SpaceX seeks to make life multi-planetary.”
Musk tweeted his congratulations to the team after the flight, calling it “an exciting test launch” and that they had “learned a lot for the next test launch in a few months.”
If SpaceX wants to try again, it will need to apply for a new launch authorization from the FAA. manner of data collection, which distinguishes the firm from its close collaborator NASA, which favors low-key experiments over flashy headlines. Musk has presented Starship in great detail for years, both in terms of its design and its intended use.
Explaining This Rocket And Its Features
The trial run is just the first stage of a much larger endeavor. Significant technological problems need to be resolved before SpaceX can send astronauts on their maiden journey aboard Starship.
For the upcoming Artemis III mission, which might take place as soon as 2025, NASA has contracted with SpaceX to supply a Starship lunar lander to bring astronauts from a separate spacecraft down to the moon’s surface. SpaceX needs to establish that Starship can reach the moon before launching that trip, let alone Mars, which is Musk’s ultimate goal.
The sheer size of the vehicle means that the corporation must stop the spaceship in Earth’s orbit to refuel. Getting a single Starship lunar lander the necessary fuel to travel the 238,900 miles (384,500 kilometers) gap between Earth and the moon may require more than a dozen launches carrying nothing but propellant.
This procedure will need to be worked out, but only after SpaceX has successfully launched Starship into orbit. The goal of Thursday’s test flight was not to reach orbit, but rather to perform a partial lap of the Earth, an accomplishment that will be significant in its own right.
“I would not put it with a number,” she added, adding that humans will travel atop the SLS rocket for the first time in the Artemis II mission scheduled for next year.
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