Live Updates: SpaceX Starship rocket lost in second test flight – CNN

SpaceX's Starship will launch on a test flight from Starbase in Boca Chica, Texas, on Saturday, November 18th.SpaceX’s Starship will launch on a test flight from Starbase in Boca Chica, Texas, on Saturday, November 18th. (Eric Gay/AP)

SpaceX did not complete the entire mission and both the Starship spacecraft and the Super Heavy booster exploded over the ocean.

But there were some big highlights for SpaceX.

The rocket got much further into its flight profile than during its first flight attempt in April, when Starship began tumbling overhead about four minutes after launch. The spacecraft did not even separate from the Super Heavy booster during this test.

This time, however, SpaceX reached that milestone: About two and a half minutes into the flight, the spacecraft fired up its engines and successfully separated using a brand new method called “hot staging.”

It was a pivotal moment for SpaceX as hot staging was expected to be “the riskiest part of the flight,” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said in October.

SpaceX had already stated that if Starship went past that point it would consider the mission a success. And it did.

However, things didn’t quite go as planned. Shortly after separation, the Super Heavy booster spiraled out of control and exploded over the Gulf of Mexico just moments later. SpaceX had hoped to restart the Super Heavy’s engines and guide it to a controlled landing.

Losing the booster isn’t a major setback. After the spin-off from Super Heavy, Starship initially made good progress.

A cloud forms as SpaceX's Starship separates from its launch vehicle during a test flight from the Starbase in Boca Chica, Texas, on Saturday, November 18.A cloud forms as SpaceX’s Starship separates from its launch vehicle during a test flight from the Starbase in Boca Chica, Texas, on Saturday, November 18. (Eric Gay/AP)

Approximately eight minutes after launch, cheers could be heard throughout mission control as the spacecraft neared the end of its engine life and headed toward Earth orbit.

But 9 minutes after launch, SpaceX made it clear that the video signal with Starship was lost.

And about eleven and a half minutes into the flight, the company confirmed that it had lost data. This indicated that Starship was not flying as planned.

Engineer John Insprucker, who hosted SpaceX’s livestream, then confirmed that SpaceX was forced to destroy Starship to keep it from going off course.

The company already emphasizes that, from its point of view, this test was a success.

“We received so much data, and this will help us improve for our next flight,” Kate Tice, technical lead for quality systems at SpaceX, said during the livestream.

In a tweet, the company said the same thing it did after the short-lived test flight in April:

It is known that the company suffered failures and violent mishaps in the early stages of rocket development. It is built into the company’s engineering philosophy, which welcomes early risk in test flights to learn and refine the vehicle’s design more quickly than if it were to rely on ground testing.


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