SpaceX inspects the Starship rocket after it reaches space for the first time
SpaceX lost contact with its massive Starship rocket after a series of explosions yesterday during its second test flight.
The two-stage rocket lifted off from a launch site near Boca Chica, Texas, and traveled over the Gulf of Mexico.
It was hoped that the spacecraft would reach an altitude of 150 miles before plunging into the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii 90 minutes after liftoff.
Musk, who owns SpaceX, shared footage of the moment the rocket took off, and said in the comment on Twitter: “A wonderful machine with a 1,000-foot column.”
It initially seemed successful but exploded after a short time.
“We’ve lost data from the second stage… We think we may have lost the second stage,” SpaceX livestream host John Innsbrucker said.
The first attempt ended in an explosion earlier this year.
About eight minutes into the test mission, the missile’s tracking camera revealed an explosion indicating that the vehicle had failed to reach an altitude of 91 miles.
The launch was originally scheduled for Friday, but was postponed due to a last-minute change in flight controls.
“With a test like this, success comes from what we learn, and today’s test will help us improve the reliability of Starship as SpaceX seeks to make life multiplanetary,” SpaceX said in a post on the social networking site X, formerly known as Twitter.
The mission’s goal was to launch the spacecraft into space before it reached orbit, before falling through Earth’s atmosphere to land off the coast of Hawaii.
The launch was the second attempt to send the spacecraft into space, after an attempt in April that ended in an explosion about four minutes after liftoff.
The Federal Aviation Administration, which authorized the test flight, said no injuries or property damage were reported.
The space regulator said: “An unfortunate accident occurred during the launch of SpaceX Starship OFT-2 from Boca Chica, Texas, on Saturday, November 18. This anomaly led to the loss of the vehicle. No injuries or damage to public property were reported.”
The FAA said it would oversee a SpaceX-led investigation into the test failure, and would need to approve SpaceX’s plan to prevent it from happening again.
NASA associate administrator Jim Frey said the test flight represented a step forward for the Starship development program.
NASA is paying SpaceX more than $4 billion for Starship. The space agency intends to use the spacecraft to land astronauts on the moon’s surface as part of its flagship Artemis program.
The successful test would have been a major step toward realizing SpaceX’s ambition to produce a large, multi-purpose spacecraft capable of sending people and cargo to the Moon for NASA, and eventually to Mars.