Elon Musk Considers the Starship Explosion a Successful Failure, but why

The long overdue first test flight of the starship that we all have been waiting for finally launched on the 20th of April, 2023. But unfortunately, just like a mighty firecracker, Starship, the largest and most powerful rocket ever built, blew up in midair, 4 minutes into its first attempt to reach space.

It was a bad ordeal that even though many space enthusiast were excited to see the biggest rocket roar through the sky, the launch was hailed as both a great success and a colossal mess. The 119-meter-tall starship tumbled and exploded, after the ship integrated with the booster failed to separate from its booster.

Although, about six of the rocket’s raptor engines, were seen not firing when the rocket left the launch pad. But at last, the starship cleared the launch tower, while it’s 33 raptor engines digging and destroying the concretes around it, and pieces of the launchpad flying everywhere around star base.

As the rocket ascended, SpaceX employees and many rocket lovers, who stood at nearby beaches cheered. However, when the rocket exploded, a lot of people were still seen cheering up at Boca Chica and in an online coverage of the launch, people were perplexed, and some even though many were forced to cheer no matter what happened.

Though, it was not true, but indeed it’s a thing of joy to see a giant rocket pierce through the sky, while running on 33 powerful engines. The rocket blew up after all. Still why would people continue to cheer in shock and excitement at the same time, after all the launch ended in flames? Even though the rocket can be deemed as a success or failure at the same time?

Why was spacex coupled starship launch deemed a success by SpaceX and other rocket watchers? Spacex played its role by getting the starship off the launch mount to fly, and It was partially successful. During the early stage of the flight, the company showed control of the flight, they showed that the entire booster actually operates as expected, and was powerful enough to handle the weight of the starship.

On the other hand, from the massive thrust of the 33 raptor engines, it is obvious that the launch pad was poorly designed and needs to be worked on to withstand the 33 raptor engines. The rocket managed to reach 39 kilometers altitude without breaking up.

And even as it began to spin out of control, both the ship and booster still stick together under immersed pressure, but exploded after the flight termination system was activated. The CEO of spacex Elon Musk congratulated employees and said he’s optimistic about the program’s progress.

In his words he said; “I don’t want to jinx it, but I think we are highly likely to reach orbit this year and recover the booster and ship, if not this year, certainly next year,” Musk said in the message. “Mars, here we come!” During the launch process at Bocha Chica, a lot of people including parents and children, watch from far closer to the coast to see the starship liftoff, somewhere seen using their optical zoom cameras to view the starship as it sails upwards.

Many people watching the starship liftoff ended their excitement in shock, and at the same time, where disappointed that the starship blew up. Carlos Huertas, a 42 years old stage techie who lives in Los Angeles, was on the beach wearing a T-shirt sold by SpaceX, with a write up that read “Occupy Mars.” He flew to Boca chica with his brother-in-law for the launch.

When he was interviewed by journalists around, he said; “I thought it turned out well until I learned it exploded. He added that he felt “a little disappointed even though he knew it was a big possibility. We were excited to be part of a historic event. I am definitely coming back again.”

Another spacex enthusiast; 69 years Karl Kriegh, and his wife traveled from Colorado for the launch, and lingered on the beach at South Padre Island after the rocket exploded. He said; “I’m so glad I’ve lived to see this, It was incredibly dramatic, one of those things on the bucket list.”

Also, after the loss of the rocket, there was a sense of relief among SpaceX employees, who have been cheering, and shouting “Go Starship!” One sprayed a bottle of champagne on colleagues. It was kind of shocking that even when the starship exploded, spacex employees were celebrating happily.

Perhaps, they are already aware that in the rocket industry, explosions are part of the process, and in fact, there’s even some childish delight in seeing things blow up, which would spark excitement while watching the scene. “It’s OK to have fun when things are not carrying customers,” said Scott Manley, an astrophysicist and rocket launch enthusiast.

The brain behind the existence of the starship, Elon Musk; Despite the setback remained cheerful on Twitter and looked forward to another attempt in a few months. If success comes or whenever it comes, will represent a major breakthrough for SpaceX, which has already transformed the space industry with, not too expensive, yet consistent testing of its but Falcon 9, and the starship, has now taken the crown as the most honoured rocket, that will serve as a ground breaking rocket that will enable human mobility in space, to learn more about the universe.

Starship is expected to carry at least 100 tons to low-Earth orbit. Musk has said he hopes to eventually fly Starship three times a day for as little $1 million per launch. SpaceX tests its hardware by building and launching rockets. This is in stark contrast to NASA, which builds massive facilities to test its rockets, such as its engine test facility at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. But that takes time and SpaceX would rather jump right to a test launch.

Looking at what space and physics experts are saying about the starship, gives hope for humans to witness another level of discovery that will transform our existences in the universe. A planetary scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center, believes the giant starship rocket could accelerate research on the Moon and Mars.

Laura Forczyk, who owns the space consulting firm Astralytical, says Starship is “the first step toward reinventing science payloads.” There are increasing appeals for astronomers and planetary scientists to use the starship as it nears maturity. According to Martin Elvis, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics, “having literally tonnes of payload available means you can change the whole way you think about payload and spacecraft design.”

For instance, the 6.5-meter mirror on NASA’s Jame Webbs Telescope space mirror would not have required to be folded into smaller sizes if it had been launched inside Starship’s 8-meter-wide cargo space. Also, space mission developers are less picky about weight. Engineers might have argued in the past over how to reduce multiton probe weight by tenths of a gramme.

Instead of trimming your lab-scale instrument, Heldmann suggests that you just send the lab instrument inside the Starship, and it will perfectly fit in. According to Casey Handmer, a software developer who formerly worked at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, humanity presently launches about 500 tonnes of cargo into space annually.

“With five launches, Starship could accomplish that. Researchers may develop a wider size of of Earth-observing satellites with frequent Starship flights, according to Forczyk. And even at that, the spacecraft could launch duplicates of a specific mission, reducing the likelihood of failure and become cost effective through economies of scale.

Of course, that’s all assumption, to achieve Musk’s minimum launch cost, Starship will need to launch often—far more often than the demand from government own space agencies like NASA could ever sustain. At first, SpaceX only has itself as the one loyal satellite customer, and In order to cover the entire planet with broadband internet, it intends to employ Starship to expand the launch of tens of thousands of its Starlink satellites.

After that, it’s anyone’s guess of what could fill Starship launches. The space economy is expected to rise from $350 billion to $1 trillion by 2040, according to investment bank Morgan Stanley, mainly due to the need for satellite internet and more affordable rockets and satellites.

Contrary, Space economist Pierre Lionnet of the business association Eurospace is still doubting the expansion of our modern space development. He claims that despite dropping launch prices, demand for launches, with the exception of Starlink, hasn’t increased significantly since the 1990s. How true is this?

The Starship would still be launch at a reasonably price when compared to heavy-lift rockets like NASA’s Space Launch System, which costs billions of dollars for every launch, and turns out to be more expensive than the Falcon 9, which costs around $67 million per launch. When SpaceX said it would be able to cut Falcon 9 launch costs by introducing reusability, many laughed.

Also Read:

Leave a Comment