- First Starship launch attempt ends in mid-flight explosion, with no crew on board
- Despite the outcome, SpaceX considers the flight a success, learning from the experimental launch
- Starship is essential for NASA's moon mission, as a key component of the Artemis program
Elon Musk's SpaceX aimed for the stars with its grandest dream yet: the Starship rocket. Although it didn't quite make it to the cosmos, it put on a dazzling spectacle as it exploded mid-flight, sans crew, of course.
This rocket, the fiercest and mightiest of its kind, has been the object of SpaceX's devotion for years, from overcoming regulations to acing tech trials. Their first attempt earlier in the week got a bit icy when a valve in the Super Heavy booster froze up. But, like the champs they are, SpaceX brushed off the frost and came back for round two on Thursday.
The company kept their cool by emphasizing that anything beyond lift-off would be a win. And indeed, the rocket soared for almost four minutes, nailing the Super Heavy booster separation, before making an unplanned and rather abrupt exit.
Elon, forever the optimist, said they gleaned a wealth of knowledge from the attempt and hinted at another go in the coming months. The Starship is destined to venture beyond Earth, carting cargo and humans alike, playing a pivotal role in NASA's lunar ambitions.
With a nearly $3 billion contract from NASA under its belt, Starship is set to moonwalk as a crewed lunar lander in the agency's Artemis program. While SpaceX initially hoped for a summer 2021 orbital launch, a few hiccups in development and FAA approval pushed the timeline back. But hey, all good things take time, right?
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