West News Wire: The largest and most potent rocket ever constructed, SpaceX’s Starship, launched on its unmanned maiden flight on Thursday. It successfully flew for more than two minutes before losing control and exploding in a shower of burning debris.
Insprucker, a SpaceX engineer, was commentating on the launch on the company’s webcast. “Starship just experienced what we call a rapid unscheduled disassembly, or an RUD, during ascent,” he remarked.
“Now this was a development test, this was the first test flight of Starship, and the goal is to gather the data and as we said, clear the pad and get ready to go again. So you never know exactly what’s going to happen, but as we promised, excitement is guaranteed! Starship gave us a rather spectacular end to what was truly an incredible test.”
Tweeted SpaceX founder Elon Musk, who monitored launch from the SpaceX control center in Boca Chica, Texas: “Congrats @SpaceX team on an exciting test launch of Starship! Learned a lot for next test launch in a few months.”
Thursday’s launch was the second attempt, after a countdown was scrubbed on Monday due to a frozen valve.
Thrilling thousands of area residents, tourists and journalists looking on from nearby South Padre Island, the 33 methane-fueled Raptor engines powering the Super Heavy first stage roared to life at 9:30 a.m. EDT, two minutes later than planned because of minor technical snags.
The engines quickly throttled up to 16 million pounds of thrust twice the power of the current record holder, NASA’s SLS moon rocket and the gargantuan rocket majestically climbed away from SpaceX’s “Starbase” launch facility.
With its engines gulping some 40,000 pounds of propellant per second, the rocket initially climbed straight up and then gracefully tilted over onto an easterly trajectory toward the Florida Straits.