SpaceX’s highly anticipated inaugural test flight of its Starship rocket failed as the spacecraft failed to separate from its booster and exploded four minutes after liftoff.
The uncrewed spacecraft, which SpaceX envisions as a means for facilitating multi-planetary life, lifted off from the launch pad to complete a 90-minute trip around the Earth before a planned splashdown near Hawaii. However, the rocket began to spin in the air and ultimately plummeted, combusting entirely.
Let’s see the highlights of the SpaceX Starship Rocket launch that appeared to show malfunctioning engines on the ship.
SpaceX’s principal integration engineer, John Insprucker, described the event as a “rapid, unscheduled disassembly,” using SpaceX’s tongue-in-cheek term for a failed test.
Despite the setback, SpaceX staff remained optimistic, cheering as the Starship rocket met its fiery end. The company acknowledged that with tests like this, success comes from the lessons learned, and this test will help improve Starship’s reliability as SpaceX continues its pursuit of making life multi-planetary, according to a tweet from the company. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk confirmed that the team plans to conduct another rocket test in a few months.
A notable feature of the Starship rocket is its new engine design called Raptor, which is powerful and potentially reusable. However, SpaceX has experienced early failures in previous demonstration tests. See the live updates on The New York Times.
A test launch scheduled for earlier in the week was canceled at the last minute due to a frozen valve in the booster, and on the day of the test, the flight crew paused operations due in part to a pressurization issue in the booster.
The Starship rocket also faces challenges due to its use of methane as fuel, which is cheaper to produce and handle than hydrogen, the typical choice for high-powered rockets. However, using methane requires chilling the oxidizer oxygen to very low temperatures, which caused the valve to freeze in the previous test attempt.
SpaceX acknowledges the risks associated with such a monumental test launch and has a history of learning from failures and using them to improve its designs and technologies.
The Starship rocket is crucial to SpaceX’s plans for its fully-reusable orbital system and future financial prospects.
Currently, SpaceX uses its Falcon-9 rocket to launch its Starlink Internet satellites into orbit, but the larger capacity of Starship could potentially allow for several hundred satellites to be launched in a single mission.
Despite the setback in the inaugural test flight, SpaceX remains committed to its ambitious goals and will continue to push forward in its pursuit of space exploration and colonization. Read more tech news on Get Top Trends.