Space X’s Starship rocket exploded minutes after taking to the sky, bringing down with it Elon Musk’s dream to make spaceflight an affordable reality.
Humanity might still be far from colonizing other planets, but Space X’s progress is still undeniable. Space X has been planning a heavy lift vehicle since as early as 2005. While the development of Starship has followed an often destructive road, all the test launches have provided valuable data for the next launch.
The two-stage rocket ship that took odd on April 20, 2023, climbed around 25 miles before it tumbled around, eventually exploding as the flight system was terminated.
Knowing the massive funding behind the rocket, the outcome was indeed disheartening, but you would never know that as the rocket came down amongst a flurry of cheers by Space X workers.
While the explosion was a sad end to the first major test flight of the largest rocket ever built, the fact that it didn’t blow up the launch pad itself was a huge success.
Why Did the Starship Explode?
Space X’s plan was for the Starship to pull off a 90-minute flight. Their best bet was for the rocket to reach the Earth’s orbit and then re-enter the atmosphere before it could re-enter.
However, the reality was quite different.
The Starship has launched off a launchpad in Southern Texas, as a live webcast showed the whole world the rocket’s progress. The engines roared, creating a humongous cloud of flames and water vapor. Less than four minutes into the flight, plans were already going awry. The two-stage rocket failed to separate, which did not give it the necessary boost to launch into space. The heavy vehicle tumbled into the sky, making spectators nervous. Not to worry, since the surrounding area of the launchpad was cordoned off in advance, and any debris should have landed over the water.
After reaching a peak of 24 miles, the rocket reached maximum aerodynamic pressure; many of its engines had failed during take-off already, thus resulting in a huge explosion.
Both Space X and Elon Musk weren’t discouraged by the explosion. In fact, Elon Musk tweeted soon after: “Congrats @SpaceX team on an exciting test launch of Starship!”
How Much Did the Starship Cost?
In September 2019, Elon Musk explained that the initial Starship launch would cost around $2-3 million. Starship launches generally have an estimated cost of $10 million, but Musk has claimed that they were trying to keep the budget at the lower end of the spectrum.
The price tag should be more than the estimate, especially after the explosion.
Where Did the Space X Starship Rocket Explode? Did Anyone Die?
Space X’s Starship was launched from a launchpad in South Texas on April 20, 2023. It exploded mid-air. Thankfully, no one was aboard the unmanned rocket, and no one was around to get hurt either.
Space X claims that the debris from the explosion had fallen somewhere in the Gulf of Mexico, and the piece will be reclaimed after discussion with the local authorities. The cleanup procedure will no doubt charge the Twitter owner even more.
The next testing phase of the Starship will be met with agitation by environmental experts as the fallen debris has been impacting the surrounding area of the launch zone.
Watch the full live webcast of the Starship launch here:
Is Starship the Most Powerful Rocket?
Starship is a super heavy launch vehicle whose objective is to eventually carry up to 100 people to distant planets. Thus, you can expect why it needs to have a large carrying capacity. It is the largest and most powerful vehicle to have ever flown. It is also the first rocket that is intended to be fully reusable.
The Space X website claims the final Starship intends to be “capable of carrying up to 150 metric tonnes fully reusable and 250 metric tonnes expendable.”
Why Did Space X Launch the Starship?
The actual goal of the Starship is to eventually carry more than 100 people to Mars and other distant planets, but let’s first talk about the rocket that is still in the testing phase.
The Starship that was launched on April 20, 2023, had a singular goal: to speed into the Earth’s orbit and then re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere before dissembling into the Gulf of Mexico. The rocket might have exploded just minutes after take-off, but Space X isn’t dissuaded by how things turned out.
Elon Musk’s optimistic comment: “If we get far enough away from the launchpad before something goes wrong, then I think I would consider that to be a success.” – came true. Thankfully his next sentence, “Just don’t blow up the launchpad.” – also came to fruition.
After this exciting yet disheartening display of aerospace technology, how many more tries do you think it will take before a Starship can be launched into space?
How many more years till humans can go to space as a part of an office tour?