SpaceX launched this Saturday largest and most powerful rocket ever builthe Starshipwhose two modules were successfully separated before a “anomaly“will cause his burstas reported by Elon Musk’s company.
He Starship module successfully separated from the propulsion floor Super Heavy. Both sides exploded and were unable to complete their scheduled return to land, according to live commentators from tycoon Elon Musk’s company.
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The 120-meter-high rocket took off shortly after 07:00 local time (13:00 GMT) from the SpaceX basein Boca Chica, Texas.
The Starship module, placed atop the rocket, successfully separated from the Super Heavy booster module, but both parts of the rocket exploded before beginning their scheduled descent, according to SpaceX.
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The rocket comprises two floors: the Super Heavy propulsion and its 33 engines, and the Starship ship.
During the first test, the two floors could not be separated in flight, but this Saturday they did.
The US air regulator, the FAA, said in a statement that an “incident” had occurred during the flight.
“The anomaly caused the loss of the machine,” the agency added, specifying that no injuries or other material damage were reported.
“The FAA will supervise the investigation carried out by SpaceX” to determine the causes of the incident, the agency also indicated, which must approve the conclusions of the investigation and the corrective actions that SpaceX will carry out before authorizing any new launch.
A launch that exceeded expectations
For space sector analyst Laura Seward Forczyk, “It was a fantastic partial success.“. This launch “exceeded my expectations,” he explained to AFP.
This second SpaceX test flight has been closely watched by NASA, which has this ship for its return missions to the Moon.
The director of the US space agency, Bill Nelson, congratulated SpaceX on Saturday for the “progress” made on this launch, referring to an “opportunity to learn and then fly again.”
On April 20, Starship lifted off for the first time in its full configuration, but several engines malfunctioned and SpaceX intentionally blew up the rocket four minutes later.
Chunks of concrete were catapulted by the power of the engines and a fire broke out in a nearby regional park. The FAA finally gave the green light on Wednesday to a second flight.
However, environmental groups have sued the FAA for incorrectly evaluating the environmental impact of the new rocket.
Prototype explosion: less serious for Space
For SpaceX the prototype explosion It is less problematic than for POTwhich is managed with state funds, experts highlight.
But Starship development It does not appear to be fast enough to live up to the plans of NASA, which has signed a contract with SpaceX.
A modified version of the machine is to serve as a lunar lander to take astronauts to the lunar surface for the first time since 1972.
This mission, called Artemis 3is officially scheduled for 2025, a date that seems increasingly unrealistic.
Musk turns Starship into “a means of transportation to any destination in the solar system,” including Mars.
Your goal is establish an autonomous colony on the red planetto make humanity a multiplanetary species.
If the size of Starship is “absurd”, he explains, it is because building a “permanent base on the Moon and a city on Mars” requires transporting millions of tons of cargo.
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Starship is larger than NASA’s new megarocket, SLS (98 m), and the legendary Saturn V, the rocket of the Apollo lunar program (111 m).
But the real innovation of Starship is that it should be completely reusable.