On Thursday, Elon Musk’s SpaceX launched its Starship rocket in an experimental test flight, which unfortunately did not reach space after exploding mid-flight. The largest and most powerful rocket ever built by SpaceX, the Starship rocket had no crew on board during the launch. The company had initially attempted to launch the rocket on Monday, but a pressure valve issue in the Super Heavy booster prevented the launch. After resolving several unidentified issues, SpaceX made a second attempt on Thursday, which resulted in the rocket exploding during flight.
SpaceX leadership had emphasized the experimental nature of the launch, stating that any outcome that involved Starship getting off the launchpad would be a success. The rocket did fly for nearly four minutes and successfully separated from the Super Heavy booster, a significant milestone in-flight, before experiencing a “rapid unscheduled disassembly,” according to the company.
Despite the failed test flight, Musk shared that the company “learned a lot” from the experience and hinted at another test launch in a few months. The Starship rocket is designed to transport both cargo and people beyond Earth and is a crucial element in NASA’s plan to return astronauts to the moon. Two years ago, SpaceX was awarded a nearly $3 billion contract from NASA to use Starship as a crewed lunar lander as part of the agency’s Artemis moon program, delivering astronauts to the lunar surface from NASA’s SLS rocket and Orion capsule.
Although the company had hoped to conduct the first orbital Starship launch in summer of this year, delays in development and winning FAA approval pushed back the launch date, with approval coming just last Friday. Despite this setback, SpaceX remains committed to continuing testing and developing the Starship rocket for future space missions.
Leave a Reply