SpaceX launched its largest and most powerful Starship rocket system ever for the first time in a landmark test.
three days after the maiden voyage Abandoned due to a last minute glitchIt took off from Boca Chica in South Texas, with thousands of spectators nearby.
Live updates on landmark SpaceX launch
But the rocket system failed to separate as planned and exploded less than four minutes into the flight.
SpaceX Starship underwent a “rapid, unscheduled disassembly prior to phase separation.”
Musk hails ‘exciting’ launch
SpaceX officials still declared the ambitious mission a success, as it marked the first liftoff of Starship and its massive booster rocket.
boss Elon Musk Congratulations to the team for an “exciting test launch”.
Musk tried to rein in expectations ahead of time, saying he only completed 50 percent of the orbit on the first attempt.
But more products are planned and he believes there is an 80% chance of success by the end of the year.
“Learned a lot for next test launch in a few months,” Musk tweeted after Thursday’s test.
SpaceX’s record-breaking rocket
Starship consists of two stages – a super-heavy booster that generates the energy needed to reach orbit, and a spacecraft pitched to one day return humans to the Moon and eventually Mars.
Combined, the vehicle and booster – featuring 33 rocket motors – reached a record altitude of 120 meters.
It is hoped that Thursday’s test will see the spacecraft separate from the booster and complete a full orbit around Earth.
what could be…
If fully successful, the starship will circle the Earth and crash into the Pacific Ocean.
The booster – a prototype called Booster 7 – will be jettisoned into the Gulf of Mexico.
The entire flight takes about 90 minutes.
Thankfully, there wasn’t any cargo, let alone people, on board Starship when it launched Thursday.
Musk hopes Starship will eventually be used to send satellites into space and send humans to the moon and Mars.
NASA has signed a deal to use it to return astronauts to the lunar surface by 2025 through its Artemis program.
Starship’s first orbital test comes after U.S. flight regulators granted SpaceX a five-year license, saying it met all safety and environmental requirements.