SpaceX’s Starship unmanned spacecraft, considered the most powerful ever built, took off on a second test flight on Saturday and reached an altitude of about 145 kilometers above Earth before engineers lost contact with it.
According to experts, the flight did not achieve all the objectives of Elon Musk’s private space company, but it overcame some of the problems that affected the previous launch.
The second test flight went further than the first: the two parts of the rocket managed to separate as planned.
But then things started to go wrong: the lower booster exploded after detachingwhich was not a big problem since it had already done its job of sending the upper stage into the sky.
But a few minutes later it was learned that the upper part of the rocket, known as the ship, had also been lost.
So was it a success or failure?
BBC science reporter Rebeca Morelle explains that losing a rocket is generally considered “non-nominal”, which in space jargon It means that it is not ideal, but the SpaceX company has a different philosophy.
They’ll analyze all the launch data, figure out what went wrong, and then fix it. will try again.
The vehicle’s maiden flight in April exploded spectacularly four minutes after taking off from Texas soil, after control of the craft was lost.
The remains of the 120 meter high rocket They fell near the Gulf of Mexico.
Starship self-destructed over the Atlantic
Analysis by Jonathan Amos
BBC science correspondent
To some extent, it was a release incredibly successful.
We watched the Starship rocket takeoff go through a crucial stage: the separation of the two halves of the rocket.
The upper part, the Ship, continued on its way. It was supposed to continue its flight for about eight and a half minutes.
But just before or after the goal was met the onboard computer basically destroyed the vehicle.
Because? Because eventually the speed of this vehicle, about 140 kilometers above the Earth, would have taken it over Africa.
But if something went wrong, which it clearly did, the computer is expected to destroy the vehicle as soon as possible so that the debris falls into the Atlantic Ocean and not Africa.
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