SpaceX Starship Thunders From Launch Pad But Fails to Make Orbit

SpaceX Starship shortly after launch. Credit: SpaceX/YouTube.

SpaceX commentators were simply giddy that the massive Starship launch vehicle cleared the launch tower on its first fully integrated test launch. And at one point it appeared they might make it to orbit.

Unfortunately, but not unexpectedly, Starship failed to make orbit. This was after all a test launch to get as much data as possible.

As Starship ascended to orbit it was clear that three of 33 engines on the first stage were not working. Even still, the rocket was at the point when the first and second stage should have separated but clearly that wasn’t happening, and instead it began a series of loops. On their Twitter feed, SpaceX characterized the last moments of flight like this, “as if the flight test was not exciting enough, Starship experienced a rapid unscheduled disassembly before stage separation.”

You might be confused in watching at the video of the cheering employees when the rocket exploded. But this wasn’t a somber occasion. This was a celebration of years of work to get to this point. Lessons will be learned after the data is scrutinized and SpaceX will try again in a few months according to Elon Musk in a Tweet. This can do attitude is in part what separates them from most of the competition. And I say most, because others are following the SpaceX lead and humanities exploration journey outward is just beginning.

Launch Replay

About Marc Boucher

Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and CEO and co-founder of SpaceRef Interactive LLC. Boucher has 20+ years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 30 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.

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