SpaceX is making changes to its Starship launchpad and rocket before its upcoming launch
• The hope is that these changes will prevent explosions and debris showers like what happened last time.
• This includes adding a blast-proof system to the launchpad and vented heat shields to the boosters.
Elon Musk has ambitious plans for Starship, SpaceX’s rocket, which faced destruction on its first orbital launch after a decade of development.
• SpaceX has launched the world’s most powerful rocket, Starship, today. However, it exploded even before reaching space.
• Elon Musk established SpaceX in 2002 with the goal of creating a permanent human settlement on Mars.
• To fulfill this aim, SpaceX has spent the last ten years creating Starship, a mega-rocket..
Elon Musk is known for his audacious ambitions, pushing the boundaries of what is possible—even challenging rockets that explode.
• The billionaire has set his sights high: to launch the world’s biggest and most powerful rocket—Starship—and then use it to take humans to the Moon and Mars.
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After over a decade of development, SpaceX attempted to launch its massive Starship rocket into space atop its Super Heavy booster on Thursday morning. The liftoff went as planned, but the rocket failed to separate from the booster about three minutes into the flight, plummeting back to Earth before bursting into flames.
Musk has stated that plans to attempt the launch again and the chances of success in this flight are only around 50%.
Olivier de Weck, a professor of Aeronautics, Astronautics, and Engineering at MIT, told an insider, “If Starship succeeds, I have little doubt it will be the workforce that brings humans back to the Moon and Mars.”
It’s not just a good rocket project, he said; it has the fundamental potential to alter the course of human history.
Here are 14 facts you should know about SpaceX’s explosive first attempt at launching its Starship:
Before its upcoming second launch, it is making some changes to its Starship mega-rocket.
The hope is that these modifications will not only prevent the rocket from exploding but also prevent debris showers on the ground, as happened last time.
SpaceX is now preparing for its second launch, which CEO Musk predicted could happen by the end of August
Two significant changes have been made to the company’s Starship launch system, and it is hoped that these changes will help the rocket avoid failure.
The upper stage will propel the booster away with its plasma engines.
The “water deluge system” has been initiated to wet the launchpad.
It is also working on improving the flexibility of its launchpad mount. This includes starting a “water deluge system” to protect against intense heat and force.
The device was likened by Musk to a “massive upside-down showerhead.”
SpaceX is strengthening its mount with “high-strength concrete,” according to Musk
The system’s goal is to protect the mount from potential damage. During its April launch, the rocket exploded upon liftoff and scattered concrete and other debris into the air, which rained down on the launch site and its surroundings in Boca Chica, Texas.
However, the water deluge system has raised environmental concerns. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) told CNBC that SpaceX did not apply for a permit to regulate the water, potentially violating environmental laws.
Before receiving the FAA’s approval, SpaceX will not be able to launch the rocket again.
According to Musk, among the “more than 1,000 changes” made to the rocket since its first launch, only two of them are responsible for the explosion.
SpaceX is now attempting a second launch window by the end of August, as stated by the CEO in June
If successful, Starship, the largest rocket ever to fly successfully in space, will be a crucial element in NASA’s Artemis mission to the Moon. The successful launch of Starship will be important for this mission since Starship is tagged to take astronauts to space for a portion of the journey.
However, before the FAA raised its green flag to SpaceX, the rocket won’t get to fly. The administration has informed Space.com that it is reviewing the accident report filed by SpaceX after the launch on April 20.
FAA officials told Space.com in an email statement this week, “When a final accident report is accepted, it will identify positive corrective actions taken by SpaceX.” “Separately, SpaceX would need to modify its license to incorporate those actions before receiving authorization to launch again.”