Inspenet, November 20, 2023.
Last Saturday, SpaceX , Elon Musk’s company, carried out its second test flight of the Starship spacecraft, designed with the ambition of eventually traveling to Mars. The takeoff occurred from its base near Boca Chica, on the border between Texas and Mexico, next to the sea.
The ship, which had no crew, was in flight for more than seven minutes, successfully separating from its booster and completing several phases before an internal emergency system destroyed it after losing communication with the ground operations base.
” We have lost the data from the second stage; what we believe now is that the Automated Flight Termination System on the second stage appears to have been activated very late in the burn ,” said John Insprucker, principal integration engineer at SpaceX.
The flight termination mechanism, a standard safety measure on rockets, triggered Starship’s destruction when a problem or deviation from its trajectory was detected. According to the online broadcast of the launch, the rocket apparently disintegrated at an altitude of 148 km.
After reaching space, the original plan was for Starship to complete most of an Earth orbit before re-entering the atmosphere and landing off the coast of Kauai, Hawaii.
” An incredibly successful day, even though we had an unscheduled rapid teardown of the Super Heavy booster and the ship ,” said SpaceX director of quality engineering Kate Tice.
Bill Nelson, the NASA administrator, praised the company for “advances in flight testing.” In a social media post, Nelson highlighted the boldness and innovation needed in the adventure of space flight. He referred to the current test as a valuable opportunity to learn and improve, encouraging positive mindset.
It is important to remember that in April, SpaceX carried out the first full launch of its Starship rocket system, which, although it did not reach space, marked several historic milestones for a large-scale experimental rocket. The destruction of the rocket in the air and the subsequent investigation of possible damage on the ground prompted a regulatory review that lasted almost seven months.
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