The launch was a success, but with the “loss” of the Starship system this Saturday, SpaceX once again failed to complete its mission to launch its ship into space. However, he made progress on some objectives and achieved separation of the powerful rocket, a challenge he had had since last April, when that process failed and he was forced to detonate the ship.
The spacecraft lifted off from Boca Chica, Texas, at around 7:03 a.m. local time to excited shouts from air traffic controllers and the public. Many fans watched the event from both Cameron County in the USA and from the nearby border with Mexico.
“It was really better than the previous launch!” SpaceX noted on its X account (formerly Twitter), without ever mentioning an explosion.
“Even though it didn’t happen in a lab or on a test bench, it was an absolute test. What we have done will bring results.” valuable data to continue “The rapidly evolving Starship,” the company wrote on its website, where it does not yet provide details about the outage.
Elon Musk’s company stands out and is happy that its launch vehicle, the most powerful ever developed in the world, is powered by 33 Raptor enginesreally take off and that launch pad was left in good condition.
The world’s most powerful launch vehicle ever developed, powered by 33 Raptor engines, lifts off from the starbase pic.twitter.com/PqynIneFln
– SpaceX (@SpaceX) November 19, 2023
I just inspected the Starship launch pad and it is in great condition!
No replacement of the water-cooled steel plate is required for the next start.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 19, 2023
However, according to CBS, the controllers of this launch vehicle and ship system, the largest in the world and the one with which NASA plans to return to the moon, lost contact with it about nine minutes into the flight, which was tracked by a large cloud of smoke.
The monumental rocket was expected to make a nearly complete revolution around the Earth in an hour and a half before crashing into the Pacific near Hawaii.
Although it made progress in this process during testing, it also ended in mishap when it was about 90 miles (145 kilometers) from Earth, as detailed. The New York Times.
After the separation, the first stage, the gigantic launch vehicle called Super Heavy, collapsed before falling into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and although the spacecraft managed to continue on its path, it made little progress before exploding, according to CBS.
“In a test like this, success rests on what we learn, and it will help us improve the reliability of Starship as SpaceX seeks to make life multiplanetary,” said Elon Musk’s company, which reported the data will continue to update.
The spacecraft hoped to reach near-orbital speeds upon its return to Earth, bringing it much closer to its potential. It was not possible to be in a close orbit with this ship, which, together with the launch vehicle, is 121 meters high (equivalent to more than 35 floors).
Success in separation
Elon Musk’s company had successfully begun this critical test about seven months after the mid-air explosion of the first test about four minutes after launch, forcing SpaceX to trigger its explosion on this occasion.
This Saturday, less than three minutes before the start, both stages were successfully separated thanks to an irrigation system with around 260,000 gallons of water introduced after the April 20 ruling.
Starship’s hot phase separation was the first time this technique had been successfully performed on a vehicle of this size pic.twitter.com/nlfhcPo8m7
– SpaceX (@SpaceX) November 19, 2023
However, it was entirely possible that this flight would end in another fireball like last time. SpaceX had foreseen that the challenge would lie in separating the two stages.
According to the company, Starship will be a reusable transportation system designed to transport crew and cargo to Earth orbit, the Moon, Mars and “beyond.”
SpaceX worked for months to get approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which approved the second test last Wednesday because it “meet all safety, environmental, political and financial responsibility requirements.”
For its part, the FAA indicated that it would investigate the “loss” of this missile, preliminarily stating that it caused no injury to persons or property.
Starship’s customers include NASA, which won SpaceX for the Human Landing Services (HLS) contract for Artemis 3, a mission that will take astronauts to the moon for the first time since the 1970s. NASA plans to launch Artemis 3 by the end of 2025.
In fact, this new launch takes place a year after the launch of Artemis I, which marked NASA’s return to lunar exploration with a vehicle that is initially unmanned on November 16, 2022.
After this successful test, astronauts will fly Artemis II around the moon, while NASA hopes to have the spacecraft for its next missions to the moon and Mars. This was pointed out by NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, who congratulated SpaceX on the “progress.”