SpaceX high-altitude Starship debut go for a second launch attempt

Katie Ramirez
January 29, 2021

SpaceX successfully launched its Starship SN-8 test rocket on December 9, 2020, before it crash-landed in a massive fireball on its launch pad.

Days after SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said that his company is working towards the launch of an uncrewed Mars flight in about two years, the technological giant has hit a drag as the ambitious Starship exploded upon landing during its eighth test flight on Thursday. EST from its launch and development site in Boca Chica, Texas. There was low pressure during the landing, "causing touchdown velocity to be high & RUD", he wrote, using an acronym for "rapid unscheduled disassembly". "Congrats SpaceX team hell yeah!" he tweeted.

Wednesday's test followed SpaceX's latest space station supply run for NASA by three days, and the private company's second astronaut flight by less than a month from Florida's Kennedy Space Center.

"Mars, here we come!" he tweeted.

"Starship will be the world's most powerful launch vehicle ever developed, with the ability to carry in excess of 100 metric tonnes to Earth orbit", the company has maintained.

The three companies are vying for future contracts to build the moon landers under NASA's Artemis programme, which calls for a series of human lunar explorations within the next decade.

COVID-19 variant may have entered the community, Alberta health minister says
There has been limited household transmission at this point but there is no evidence to suggest it's spread beyond that. The vaccinations began in mid-December and Shandro said about 10,000 Albertans have now received the double dose.

The different complex processes in flying the SN8 were all a success, including the header tanks switch and flap control of the Starship.

While accepting an award in Berlin last week, Musk said he's "highly confident" of a human flight to Mars in six years - "if we get lucky, maybe four years". Its Raptor engine is a reusable methalox staged-combustion engine that powers the Starship launch system. After 4 minutes and 45 seconds of flight, its third engine was turned off and the rocket began its descent into its expected state.

The experimental flights are taking place in a almost deserted part of southern Texas on the Gulf of Mexico near the US-Mexican border - an area empty enough that any flight malfunction would be unlikely to cause physical or property damage. The engines were restarted just seconds before landing in an effort to slow the ship, but it crashed hard into the Earth. But the company left unclear whether the rocket had flown that high.

Its Raptor engines reignited for braking and Starship tilted back upright.

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Meizawa is now planning to pay an undeclared sum to take the starship to orbit the moon in 2023 - initially.

The craft, which Musk says is the future for his SpaceX company, was supposed to test manoeuvres including a belly-facing re-entry to Earth's atmosphere, which would then lead to a late-stage flip to vertical flight before the touchdown.

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