What Really Happened During SpaceX’s Starship Test Launch?
SpaceX’s Starship Test Launch Elon Musk’s SpaceX company launched its new rocket, Starship, which exploded on its maiden flight. No one was hurt in the uncrewed test, but the rocket was destroyed by onboard charges. he SpaceX engineers view this mission as a success since they were able to collect data to use for the upcoming flight.
The Test Launch
The rocket lifted off from Texas‘ east coast and started to tumble out of control two to three minutes into the flight. Elon Musk announced that his company would attempt the launch again in a few months. Prior to the launch, Musk had cautioned that simply getting the vehicle off the ground without causing damage to the launch pad infrastructure would be considered a success.
During the ascent of the rocket, six out of the 33 engines located at the base of the vehicle either flamed out or were shut down, resulting in an explosion. At the expected separation point, the two sections of the vehicle remained connected and deviated from their intended path. At launch-plus-four-minutes, Starship was losing altitude, and a large explosion ripped across the blue sky, resulting in computers or someone on the ground triggering the vehicle’s Flight Termination System (FTS).
Starship reached a maximum altitude over the Gulf of 39 km. It is the biggest rocket ever developed with a prospective payload performance to the orbit of over 100 tonnes per flight. SpaceX went for 90% thrust, which should have delivered something close to 70 meganewtons, double the thrust by the Saturn V rocket that famously sent men to the Moon in the 1960s and 70s. Starship has a low cost of operation that should open the door to space tourism.
The original plan for the mission was to send the spaceship on a nearly full orbit around the Earth, culminating in a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean, to the north of Hawaii. The recovery of the spaceship or the Super Heavy rocket was not anticipated.
However, the long-term plan is to land both halves, refuel them and launch again. The idea is to have a vehicle with massive capacity and, potentially, at a very low price.