Visitors look on as SpaceX’s Starship, the world’s biggest and most powerful rocket, stands ready for a scheduled launch from Starbase in Boca Chica, Texas, Wednesday, April 19, 2023.InternationalIndiaAfricaSpaceX’s Starship spacecraft underwent a setback after the craft exploded during its first test flight. However, company CEO Elon Musk has stated the damage caused by the explosion was “quite small.”SpaceX CEO Elon Musk revealed Saturday that the company expects to conduct another Starship launch in about “six to eight weeks” and spend roughly $2 billion on rocket development just this year.The spacecraft was launched atop a Super Heavy rocket booster and was expected to separate from the booster before continuing its ascent towards space. However, the historic launch ended with an explosion after the Starship prototype experienced multiple engine failures, prompting the vehicle’s flight termination system to be triggered.The incident proved a significant setback for SpaceX’s plans to use the Starship spacecraft to transport humans to Mars and beyond. The company had hoped to use the spacecraft to carry out crewed missions as early as 2023, but the timeline now appears unlikely.
"The vehicle structural margins appear to be better than we expected," Musk admitted during a discussion on Twitter Spaces. "As we can tell the vehicle is actually doing somersaults towards the end and still staying intact."
Despite the setback, Musk remains optimistic about the future of the Starship program, indicating SpaceX will continue to refine the design and conduct further tests in the coming months. The company has already built several prototypes of the Starship spacecraft, with each iteration incorporating improvements based on previous tests.© AFP 2023 / Patrick T. FallonНа месте падения обломков ракеты SpaceX Starship в штате Техас На месте падения обломков ракеты SpaceX Starship в штате Техас In the wake of the explosion, the US Federal Aviation Administration issued a statement explaining that the agency was forced to shutter the immediate area around the launch base due to “launch pad safety concerns.”The area remained closed for a period of 48 hours, with staff allowed to return to the vicinity to examine the damages on April 22.Investigations into the cause of the mishap remain ongoing, with SpaceX engineers poring over telemetry data. The company has not yet released any details about the specific cause of the engine failures.Beyond PoliticsSpaceX’s Starship Launch Ends With Midair Explosion After Engine Failure20 April, 21:13 GMTNASA Administrator Bill Nelson earlier told a House committee hearing that SpaceX believed it would be “at least two months to rebuild the launchpad,” with the same amount of time being given to prepare another launch vehicle.Despite the setback, SpaceX remains one of the most innovative companies in the aerospace industry. The company has made significant strides in recent years, launching numerous successful missions to the International Space Station and developing reusable rockets that have dramatically reduced the cost of spaceflight. With its ambitious plans for the Starship spacecraft, SpaceX is poised to play a key role in shaping the future of space exploration.