SpaceX successfully launched its Starship rocket for the first time. During the second official test flight, the company launched the largest rocket in history into space. The super-heavy rocket exploded before it could land again.
The Starship rocket lifted off from SpaceX’s launch site in Texas at 2:03 p.m. Dutch time. The missile consists of a first stage, the Super Heavy spacecraft, and a second stage, the Starship spacecraft. The Super Heavy rocket ignited its 33 Raptor engines, all of which continued to operate during the first minutes after launch. In doing so, SpaceX solved the biggest problem it had faced since the previous launch. The company launched its first Starship rocket in April, but it collapsed shortly after launch. This was because quite a few Raptor engines had stopped working at that time; That doesn’t seem to be the case now.
The spacecraft’s six Raptor engines were also successfully ignited after the second stage cut off. After about nine minutes, the spacecraft was transported into space, but the rocket did not complete its full orbit around Earth.
The only part of the launch that was less successful was the landing of the very heavy booster. It should have landed back on the ground, but it didn’t. It appears that the booster exploded at some point shortly after disconnecting. This was done through an automatic flight termination system, but it is not clear why this happened. SpaceX didn’t say anything about this in the webcast.
Starship is the future rocket of SpaceX, which wants to use the spacecraft, among other things, to transport astronauts to the Moon and in the future to Mars. The company has been working on the missile for years and conducted the first and so far only official test flight there in April, but the missile failed to reach space. Now that the spacecraft has succeeded, it is the largest rocket ever to reach space. The height of the rocket is 121 meters, which is about ten meters higher than the Saturn rocket that astronauts flew to the moon during the Apollo program.
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