In a test launch, SpaceX hopes that this will be the beginning of a human voyage to Mars. The rocket, which was built by the largest and most powerful company in history, blasted into space from Texas, but it exploded within minutes.
The 120-metre Starship system, which had been cancelled earlier in the week due to a problem with pressurisation, took off on Thursday at 8.33am local (2.33pm UK). The rocket gained speed but began to spin up at altitude, before exploding four minutes after it left the ground.
The booster and cruise vehicle of the rocket system were not able to separate correctly after takeoff. This could have caused the spacecraft’s failure. The rocket explosion was either spontaneous or the flight termination system activated. This is a failsafe designed to destroy the spacecraft if it veers too far from its course.
SpaceX warned that there were few chances of success and that the purpose of the test flight would be to collect data regardless of whether or not the mission was completed. Even after the rocket exploded, SpaceX employees cheered.
In a tweet , SpaceX wrote: “As if this flight test wasn’t exciting enough, Starship experienced an unscheduled rapid disassembly just before stage separation.”
The sub-orbital uncrewed test was the first “fully-stacked” trial, in which the Starship cruise ship – designed to carry up to 100 astronauts at a time – is placed on top the Super Heavy booster rocket whose 33 Raptor engine provided the enormous thrust needed.
The mammoth spacecraft is almost as long as three passenger planes and 10 metres higher than the Saturn V Rocket which sent humans to the Moon in 1969.
Elon Moht the founder of SpaceX has received the approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to launch the rocket last week.
The upper and lower sections of the system can both be powered back to Earth safely for a soft touchdown so they can then be reused. Musk claims that the rockets can be reused, making space travel much cheaper than Nasa.
Musk says that SpaceX, unlike Nasa, is willing to let test flights go wrong. The private venture gains from this, he claims. SpaceX has built its own spaceport called Starbase on the Gulf of Mexico, in Boca Chica Texas, for rocket launches. Other Starships have already been produced for future tests.
Musk claimed that he created Starship, formerly named the BFR to enable humans to become interplanetary species. Musk said he will begin colonising Mars to ensure humanity’s survival in the event of a planet-destroying disaster, such as a nuclear war or asteroid impact.
SpaceX says that Starship will have a payload of up to 150 tons and be able transport dozens of passengers on long-distance interplanetary flights. is already scheduled to take 11 people on a privately-funded trip around the moon this year. However, that time frame now seems unrealistic. Nasa also has contracted SpaceX for astronauts to land on the moon by 2025, including the first female. This is part of the Artemis programme. This date is also deemed to be too ambitious.
The company announced long-term plans for the spacecraft to be used as a shuttle to conduct commercial travel in Earth. It promises trips from London and Tokyo under one hour.