Space X’s Starship is one of the largest man-made objects that, if successful, will enter orbit today in under 5 minutes. Crafted by SpaceX, it’s exactly one Mecha-Godzilla tall, or as tall as the statue of Liberty. I’ll keep this brief as the launch starts in less than 5 minutes and hopefully it will speak for itself, if it makes it to orbit this time around (pun intended). Stay tuned for a more in-depth look at the starship, the SpaceX program that gets it to orbit (hopefully), and a digest of the launch.
Incredible facts about the SpaceX program: it has broken multiple records for total launches, it gets more satellites to orbit than any other space program combined, and also serves as a shuttle for the international space station. Don’t miss this chance to tune in for a possibly historic flight. Keep your fingers crossed for no unexpected rapid unscheduled disassembly’s!
Watch the full live coverage here:
Update: The Starship achieved booster stage separation this time, but the booster exploded. This is purely speculation, but from watching the footage there appeared to be an irregularity in the way the engines ignited (instead of causing a symmetrical halo there was a pancake effect which may have caused uneven heating, possibly igniting the methane in the center of the booster).
The second stage achieved the flip maneuver and made it quite far over the Gulf of Mexico before losing signal and exploding from FTS (the flight termination system that SpaceX uses for safety). There are mixed reports of it possibly igniting on its own before FTS. There was a 40 second delay in the FTS and explosion suggesting that the additional explosives added to this launch were not enough to cause immediate destruction.
So how was this flight different than the previous launch? The biggest difference was in the quality of the equipment used. During preflight checks the SpaceX team had replaced a fin actuator. The previous test launch used an older model of the raptor engines that SpaceX had already deprecated. This, coupled with the lack of a water deluge system that led to a stone tornado which damaged several of the engines and destroyed the launch pad.
The water deluge system was extremely successful with no damage to the pad and minimal damage to stage zero (the chopstick mechanics that hold the ship in place). Fun fact! The water deluge system was already on site before the previous test launch, and most people knew that it would be necessary, but by not using it SpaceX was able to get important data and dig a hole for the deluge system using the force of the rocket itself. This of course is tongue in cheek, they may not have intended to do that but it certainly saved permitting and demolition costs!
All in all a successful test launch. They did reach the necessary velocity to get to orbit and made it to max Q which is the point at which the ship experiences the most stress, a huge win.
Stay tuned for the next launch. My guess? The next one gets to orbit easily. If all goes well I’ll have live footage of the event!
Check out this incredible footage of the launch from Mexico:
Así se vio el segundo lanzamiento de la Starship desde México.
Ni Obama tiene esas vistas.
Video por Juan Correa desde la frontera con Estados Unidos en Faro Bagdad en Tamaulipas. pic.twitter.com/pDk2QYcpI3
— Jona C. (@elfamosisimoJON) November 18, 2023