Space X’s Starship rocket explodes during a test flight – Acadie Nouvelle

SpaceX launched its mega rocket Starship, but lost both the launch vehicle and the spacecraft in two explosions minutes after the test flight on Saturday.

The rocket reached space after launching from South Texas before communications were suddenly lost. Initial speculation was that the ship exploded over the Gulf of Mexico due to its self-destruction system.

Minutes earlier, the separate launch vehicle had exploded over the Gulf. But at that point his job was done.

Saturday’s demonstration lasted about eight minutes, about twice as long as the first test in April, which also ended in an explosion. The final flight ended just as the vehicle’s six engines were almost ready to put it on a trajectory around the world.

At nearly 400 feet (121 meters) tall, Starship is the largest and most powerful rocket ever built, with the goal of transporting people to the Moon and Mars.

“The real icing on the cake today was this successful launch,” said SpaceX commentator John Insprucker, noting that all 33 boosters responded as expected, unlike last time.

The booster also easily separated from the spacecraft, which reached an altitude of 148 kilometers.

“We received so much data, and all of it will help us improve for our next flight,” added commentator Kate Tice.

SpaceX founder Elon Musk watched the launch from behind launch controls at the southern tip of Texas, near the Mexican border and Boca Chica Beach.

At the company’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California, employees cheered as Starship lifted off at dawn. When it became clear that the spaceship had been destroyed, the room fell silent.

SpaceX was aiming for an altitude of 150 miles, just high enough to send the spherical spacecraft around the globe before crashing into the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii about an hour and a half after launch or a full orbit.

After the flight demonstration in April, SpaceX made dozens of improvements to the rocket and launch pad. The Federal Aviation Administration cleared the rocket for flight on Wednesday after confirming that all safety and environmental concerns had been addressed.

After Saturday’s takeoff, the FAA said no injuries or damage to the public had been reported and that an investigation was underway to determine what went wrong. SpaceX cannot launch another Starship until the review is completed and corrections are made, the FAA added.

NASA expects Starship to land astronauts on the moon by the end of 2025 or shortly thereafter. The space agency awarded SpaceX a $3 billion contract to do just that, ferrying astronauts from its Orion capsule to a spacecraft in lunar orbit before heading to the surface.

“Today’s test is an opportunity to learn and then fly again,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson noted via X, formerly known as Twitter.

Starship is 10 meters taller than NASA’s Saturn V rocket, which carried people to the moon more than half a century ago, and 23 meters taller than NASA’s Space Launch System rocket, which left the moon without a crew last year started and returned.

As before, there was nothing valuable on board the spacecraft for the test.

Once Starship is proven, Mr. Musk plans to use the fully reusable mega rockets to launch satellites into Earth orbit and equipment and people to the moon and eventually Mars.