Another SpaceX test launch has ended in a fiery explosion.
SpaceX conducted a test launch of its Starship spacecraft on November 18, and portions of the rocket exploded shortly after lift-off.
The firm live-streamed its second integrated flight test of Starship in South Texas. The aerospace company claimed the rocket was “the world’s most powerful launch vehicle ever developed, powered by 33 Raptor engines,” as posted on X.
The latest launch showcased the first-ever successful demonstration of a “hot-stage separation” with a vehicle of its size.
“While it’s not happening in a lab or on a test stand, this is absolutely a test. What we’re doing today will provide invaluable data to continue [the] rapid development of Starship,” said SpaceX in a post on X. “This rapid, iterative development approach has been the basis for all of SpaceX’s major innovative advancements, including Falcon, Dragon, and Starlink.”
Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, described the rocket as a “magnificent machine.”
“For the first time, there is a rocket that can make all life multiplanetary,” posted Musk. “A fork in the road of human destiny.”
The launch, however, did not occur without incident. Minutes into the launch, the craft’s self-destruct system destroyed the rocket over the Gulf of Mexico after it lost contact with ground teams. The first explosion was followed by a detonation from the rocket’s booster engine.
“The booster experienced a rapid unscheduled disassembly shortly after stage separation while Starship’s engines fired for several minutes on its way to space,” posted SpaceX.
“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 multiplanetary,” the company said.
NASA administrator Bill Nelson congratulated the company on the launch despite the explosive ending, claiming that SpaceX and NASA will bring humanity back to the lunar surface.
“Spaceflight is a bold adventure demanding a can-do spirit and daring innovation. Today’s test is an opportunity to learn — then fly again,” posted Nelson.
This is not the only recent test launch that ended explosively. SpaceX initiated a development test launch of its Starship rocket on April 20, which ended in a fireball, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.