- BBC News World
The Starship, the largest and most powerful rocket ever built, exploded shortly after takeoff from the launch pad in Boca Chica, Texas.
Before it disintegrates, the first flight of Elon Musk’s company ship manages to pass a key point: clear the launch tower and take off into the sky.
At the point when the Super Heavy booster was to be separated from the ship, things went wrong. The fan started spinning then He was Explosion.
SpaceX said that what happened was an “unplanned, rapid breakup”.
But as the BBC’s science editor Rebecca Morell points out, although the company wanted to take this experiment further, it wouldn’t say it was a failure.
Cheers were heard at SpaceX headquarters, even as the rocket and ship went up in smoke.
The fact that the rocket took off is a good start: Elon Musk’s company will now assess what went right and what happened, and then He. She Will try again.
Elon Musk tweeted minutes after the rocket exploded: “Congratulations Team SpaceX on the exciting test launch of Starship! Lots of learning for the next test launch in a few months.”
The Federal Aviation Administration, which authorizes the missile launches in the United States, said it would oversee an investigation into what happened. A spokesman for the agency said this was standard practice when a vehicle was lost in flight.
The decisive moment
The rocket exploded at what was considered the key moment of the flight: when the lower half of the rocket, the super heavy booster, was supposed to separate from the upper half of the spacecraft so that it could continue alone in space.
At that time it was computers They may have activated the system the end turn off the light.
BBC Science Correspondent Jonathan Amos said, “It appears that as the rocket climbed into the sky, some of the engines at the base of the Super Heavy booster weren’t firing. I counted 6 out of 33.” Turn them off.”
The fact is that even though the spacecraft exploded, one of the main goals that SpaceX set for this first flight was achieved: not to destroy the launch pad.
The huge ship took off successfully and disintegrated as soon as it headed into space.
Elon Musk himself said before the flight that “if the rocket gets far enough from the launch pad before something goes wrong, So I think I’ll consider it a success.”
“Just don’t destroy the launch pad,” he stressed.
Moreover, as the BBC points out, with this first flight, in short, They got a huge amount of data.“I think for the first time, they’re going to be surprised by what they’ve accomplished,” says the reporter. “They already have another missile that’s almost ready for take off, and this one has a variety of improvements with what they learned from building that rocket.”
What will be learned
In a statement before liftoff, the company said that “through testing like this, success is measured by how well we can learn, which will inform and improve the likelihood of future success as SpaceX moves quickly through development.” Starship “.
SpaceX did not say what caused the rocket to disintegrate, but the company said the teams are “continuing to review data and work towards our next test flight.”
Initially, the Starship was scheduled to launch on Monday, but the launch was delayed due to a frozen valve being found.
The missile is being tested with the aim of starting last The era of interplanetary travel.
Thursday’s mission plan was to send the spacecraft almost completely around Earth, ending with a crash in the Pacific Ocean, a few hundred kilometers north of Hawaii.
There was no expectation of recovering the ship or the propellant. However, in the long run, that’s the plan.
The idea is to land both halves, reload them, and fire them again and again.
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