After a successful liftoff, the Starship, the world’s largest rocket, explodes in flight

After a successful liftoff, the Starship, the world’s largest rocket, explodes in flight

Space – This is definitely not the result SpaceX expected. Shortly after its first test liftoff on Thursday, April 20, the Starship, Elon Musk’s massive rocket designed for trips to the moon and Mars, exploded in flight. As you can see at the end of the video above.

In a giant fireball, this 120-meter-high black-and-silver behemoth ripped itself out of the ground around 8:30 a.m. local time (3:30 p.m. in France), to cheers of joy from the SpaceX employees. The scene of this highly anticipated scene was SpaceX’s Starbase, located in the far south of Texas, United States.

This explosion is not a failure for billionaire Elon Musk’s company: the fact that the rocket managed to take off from the launch pad is already a great success. That’s why the SpaceX teams, in photos of the event, still loudly congratulate each other. Elon Musk also congratulated SpaceX despite this outburst, and promised a new test flight on the spacecraft “In a few months.”

It is not yet known what caused the explosion. The purpose of this test flight was to collect as much data as possible to improve the next prototypes.

READ  A UN expert denounces the "inhumane treatment" of the last Guantanamo detainees

The first attempt was canceled on Monday

On Monday, the first launch attempt was canceled in the final minutes of the countdown, due to a technical problem. “This is the first flight of a very large and complex rocket.”SpaceX chief Elon Musk said Sunday, describing the test. very dangerous “.

At 120 meters, the Starship is longer than NASA’s new massive rocket, the SLS (98 metres), which first lifted off in November, and the legendary Saturn V, the rocket of the Apollo lunar program (111 metres). The Starship’s thrust is also twice that of these two launchers – making it the most powerful in the world.

It has never flown before in its full configuration, with its super-powerful first stage, called Super Heavy and equipped with no fewer than 33 engines. Only the second stage of the craft, the Starship spacecraft that gives its name to the entire rocket, has conducted suborbital tests (at an altitude of about 10 km).

Lander of the Artemis 3 mission

It was he who was chosen by NASA to become, in a modified version, the probe for the Artemis 3 mission, which should return astronauts to the lunar surface for the first time in more than half a century. Officially in 2025.

On Thursday, the flight plan was as follows: About three minutes after liftoff, the Super Heavy was scheduled to detach and return to the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. But this separation did not happen, the missile continued to spin before exploding.

READ  Snow, freezing cold, countries at a standstill... the stunning US winter storm in ten pictures

If the separation is successful, the Starship will then have to fire up its six engines and continue its ascent on its own, up to an altitude of more than 150 km. Having achieved less than a course of about an hour, it was to plunge back into the Pacific Ocean. But getting through all these steps on the first test flight would have been a real feat.

Rocket must break the prices of the sector

Elon Musk wanted to temper expectations, saying that reaching orbit on the first try was unlikely. He was content with hoping that the launch pad would not be destroyed by the Super Heavy engines exploding on ignition. “My biggest wish is, please (…) we’re farther away from the launch pad before something goes wrong.”he said.

The spacecraft must be able to carry up to 150 tons of cargo into orbit. For comparison, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket can carry just over 22 tons into low Earth orbit. But the real innovation of Starship is that it has to be completely reusable – something Elon Musk believes can be achieved by “ two or three years.

The idea of ​​a reusable launcher, Elon Musk’s grand strategy, is to cut prices. Each spacecraft flight can only cost in the end. a few million dollars, he says. An absolute necessity for the billionaire, who estimates that humans would need hundreds of Starship missiles to have a chance at becoming a multi-planetary species. Its ultimate goal is to establish an independent colony on Mars.

READ  Italy dismantles a network to transport migrants from Türkiye

See also on Huff Post:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *