SpaceX — SpaceX is a private American aerospace company founded by Elon Musk in 2002 with the goal of making space travel more accessible and affordable.
The company designs, manufactures, and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft with the aim of colonizing Mars and making humans a multiplanetary species.
One of its most notable accomplishments is the development of the reusable Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft, which have been used to deliver cargo and astronauts to the International Space Station.
SpaceX’s ultimate goal is to create spaceships capable of transporting people to the Moon, Mars, and other planets, making human exploration and colonization of other worlds a reality.
Failure to launch
On Thursday, SpaceX waited to see Starship, the company’s latest project, take off.
Although the massive stainless steel vessel took off from its launch site at Boca Chica, Texas, it failed to make orbit.
According to SpaceflightNow.com’s Stephen Clark, around five of its 33 Raptor engines didn’t fire during lift-off.
The rocket managed to clear the launch tower and shoot for the sky.
However, the spacecraft failed to detach from the Super Heavy booster before the vessel started spinning.
Eventually, Starship fell apart in what is technically known as a “rapid unscheduled disassembly.”
The massive launching system stood at 394 feet tall (120 meters), which towered higher than the Statue of Liberty in New York City.
“The vehicle experienced multiple engines out during the flight test, lost altitude, and began to tumble,” SpaceX said in an update.
“The flight termination system was commanded on both the booster and ship.”
The Federal Aviation Administration released a statement on Thursday afternoon, saying:
“An anomaly occurred during the ascent and prior to stage separation resulting in a loss of the vehicle. No injuries or public property damage have been reported.”
“The FAA will oversee the mishap investigation of the Starship/Super Heavy test mission.”
“A return to flight of the Starship/Super Heavy vehicle is based on the FAA determining that any system, process, or procedure related to the mishap does not affect public safety.”
“This is standard practice for all mishap investigations.”
One step forward
While it failed to hit orbit, Starship’s successful takeoff indicated a step forward in the United States goal to achieve space travel.
SpaceX foresees the vessel as a key link in a manned mission to help humans one day reach Mars.
Furthermore, the lift-off set a new record for being the largest rocket to ever launch.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tempered expectations before the lift-off, saying:
“Success is not what should be expected… that would be insane.”
Following the explosion, the company tweeted:
“With a test like this, success comes from what we learn, and today’s test will help us improve Starship’s reliability as SpaceX seeks to make life multi-planetary.”
Meanwhile, Musk congratulated members of the team for the “exciting” test launch, saying they learned enough for the next test launch.
“I don’t want to jinx it, but I think we are highly likely to reach orbit this year and recover the booster and ship, if not this year, certainly next year,” he wrote in an email to employees.
“Mars, here we come!”
In anticipation of the next test launch, SpaceX would need to obtain a launch license from the FAA.
The company believes it won’t be as troublesome as it was for the Thursday launch.”
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson also seemed enthusiastic, congratulating the team for the flight test.
‘Every great achievement throughout history has demanded some level of calculated risk, because with great risk comes great reward,” Nelson tweeted.
‘Looking forward to all that SpaceX learns, to the next flight test — and beyond.”