Test Launch of SpaceX Starship

April 20, 2023

Congrats @SpaceX team on an exciting test launch of Starship! Learned a lot for next test launch in a few months.

SpaceX founder, CEO, and chief engineer Elon Musk on the first test launch of Starship, the tallest and most powerful space vehicle ever built. Though the liftoff was successful, the unmanned Starship exploded less than four minutes into its flight.

What To Know: SpaceX’s Starship is the tallest and most powerful space vehicle ever built – it’s about 100 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty! It can carry more cargo (and potentially people) than any other spaceship before, and is also designed to be reusable. However, in Thursday’s test flight launched from South Texas, the rocket disassembled (exploded) minutes into its flight. Eventually, NASA plans to use Starship to land astronauts on the moon, and Musk wants it to be used to carry people to Mars, too.

More Details: Starship is made of up two sections: Super Heavy and Starship. Super Heavy is the booster rocket which includes 33 engines to launch Starship – the spacecraft which SpaceX says is “designed to carry both crew and cargo to Earth orbit, the Moon, Mars and beyond” – into space. The purpose of Thursday’s test launch (the second attempt as the launch was scrubbed on Monday) was to learn more about Starship and prepare for future test launches.

Big Picture: After Thursday’s test launch, SpaceX’s Kate Tice said, “To get this far is amazing. … Everything after clearing the tower was icing on the cake.” If Starship is successful, The Washington Post explains it “would serve not only as a vehicle for exploration, but for science as well. With its ability to hoist enormous amounts of mass to orbit, astronomers and astrophysicists see rethinking what sorts of telescopes and instruments can be catapulted into space.”

SpaceX’s 1st Starship launches on epic test flight, explodes in in ‘rapid unscheduled disassembly’ (Space.com)

SpaceX’s massive rocket Starship explodes 4 minutes after liftoff (NPR)

SpaceX’s launch of Starship could remake space exploration (The Washington Post)

Learn more here from SpaceX: Starship

by Jenna Lee,