HomeBusinessElon Musk's SpaceX Starship rocket explodes minutes after launch

Elon Musk’s SpaceX Starship rocket explodes minutes after launch

The largest and most powerful rocket ever built took off from Texas but exploded within minutes in a test flight that its creators, SpaceX, hope will be the first step in a human journey to Mars.

After a canceled launch earlier this week due to a pressurization issue, the Starship 120-meter rocket system lifted off at 8:33am local time (2:33pm UK) on Thursday. It picked up speed but then began to spin in altitude before exploding about four minutes after leaving the ground.

It appeared that the two sections of the rocket system, the booster and the cruiser, were unable to separate properly after liftoff, possibly causing the spacecraft to fail. It was not immediately clear if the rocket exploded spontaneously or if the Flight Termination System activated: a failsafe that destroys the spacecraft to prevent it from drifting too far off course.

SpaceX had previously warned that the chances of success were low and that the goal of the test flight was to collect data, regardless of whether the full mission was achieved. SpaceX employees cheered even after the rocket disintegrated.

“As if the flight test wasn’t exciting enough, Starship underwent an unscheduled rapid disassembly prior to stage separation,” SpaceX said in a statement on Twitterreferring to the explosion.

The uncrewed suborbital test marked the first “fully stacked” test in which the cruise ship Starship, which is designed to eventually carry up to 100 astronauts, was placed atop the Super Heavy rocket booster, whose 33 Raptor engines provided the immense thrust needed.

Almost as big as three passenger planes, the gigantic spacecraft is 10 meters taller than the Saturn V rocket that sent humans to the moon in 1969.

Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, last week obtained the necessary approval from the Federal Aviation Administration for the launch to go ahead.

Both the upper and lower segments of the system are designed to return safely to Earth for a soft landing for reuse. Musk says that the reusability of the rockets makes spaceflight significantly cheaper than what NASA could offer.

Unlike NASA, which tries to avoid risk, SpaceX has a history of being willing to let test flights explode, and Musk says the private company benefits from understanding what goes wrong. SpaceX built its own spaceport, called Starbase, in the Gulf of Mexico at Boca Chica, Texas, to launch its rockets. And several other Starships are already in production for future testing.

Musk said he developed the Starship, formerly called the BFR (heavily hinted to stand for Big Fucking Rocket), so that humans could eventually become an interplanetary species. To do this, he intends to begin the colonization of Mars, which he said was necessary to preserve humanity should a planet-destroying event, such as nuclear war or an asteroid impact, wipe out life on it. the earth.

SpaceX claims that Starship, which has a payload capacity of up to 150 tons, will be able to carry dozens of people on long-duration interplanetary flights. He already has a privately funded trip for 11 people around the moon scheduled for this year, though that timing now seems unrealistic. NASA has also contracted with SpaceX to bring astronauts, including the first woman, to the moon starting in 2025 as part of its Artemis program. That date is also considered too ambitious.

The company has announced longer-term plans to also use the spacecraft as a shuttle for commercial travel on Earth, promising trips from London to Tokyo in less than an hour.



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