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StarShip Inaugural Launch Ends in Fiery Blast

Updated: Apr 30, 2023

Despite the mission ending before all goals were reached the inaugural launch SpaceX Starship was deemed a success.

The launch of the unmanned "Stacked Starship" took place from the Texas Boca Chica Starbase early on Thursday.

Before the launch, there was a brief pause in the countdown around the 40-second mark, reportedly due to a fuel tank pressure issue. The concern was quickly resolved, and the launch proceeded as onlookers cheered and counted down the last 10 seconds out loud.

After about four minutes of flight, Starship, the largest rocket ever made and twice as powerful as the Saturn 5 moon rocket, cartwheeled and then exploded. An event described as a rapid unplanned disassembly or RUD by SpaceX.

From the live video, it appears that the first and second-stage separation did not happen as planned.

Despite not separating the first stage executed a "boost back" maneuver that realigns it for landing, that's assuming the second stage has separated.

Onlookers watched as the first and second stages began to spin, forcing the destruction of the stacked Starship.

It also seems that only 27 of the first stage's 33 Raptor engines were operating.

This is the Flight Profile Submitted to FCC:

"The Starship Orbital test flight will originate from Starbase, TX. The Booster stage will separate approximately 170 seconds into flight. The Booster will then perform a partial return and land in the Gulf of Mexico approximately 20 miles from the shore. The Orbital Starship will continue on flying between the Florida Straits. It will achieve orbit until performing a powered, targeted landing approximately 100km (~62 miles) off the northwest coast of Kauai in a soft ocean landing."

At the 4-minute mark, the Starship exploded, likely as a result of a self-destruct order sent to the craft.

Definitely an exciting end to starships historic flight.

As far as SpaceX is concerned, anything beyond lifting off and clearing the launch pad makes this inaugural flight of the world's largest rocket a success.

Elon Musk said SpaceX would not attempt another launch of this kind for several months.


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