Starship Successful Launch

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SpaceX is back on the launchpad Thursday with another attempt to send its Starship system into space in a crucial test of the biggest rocket ever built.

If successful, the flight will mark a major step in Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk’s goal to send humans back to the moon and to deep-space destinations including Mars. But success is far from assured. SpaceX had originally planned to launch the uncrewed test mission April 17 before calling it off about 10 minutes before the scheduled takeoff due to a frozen pressure valve on the rocket.

Engineers have been “working around the clock” to fix any lingering issues and get the vehicle ready for flight, Musk said Wednesday in a tweet.

Starship was conceived to bring people — including NASA astronauts — and cargo such as satellites into Earth’s orbit and beyond. The rocket is more powerful than any previous crewed spacecraft and taller than the Saturn V, which took humans to the moon. The launch vehicle system also has been designed to be fully reusable, which SpaceX promises will reduce costs.

The company, formally known as Space Exploration Technologies Corp., aims to lift off from its facility in Boca Chica, Texas, during a 62-minute window that opens at 8:28 a.m. local time. It began loading propellant fuel into the launch vehicle at about 7:00 a.m. local time.

After an initial climb to space, the Super Heavy booster rocket is expected to break away from Starship and do a controlled dive into the Gulf of Mexico. The Starship spacecraft will continue onward and arc through space completing almost a full lap around the Earth. It will then land in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Hawaii.

Musk has sought to temper expectations for a perfectly successful launch.

“I would like to just set expectations,” Musk said a day before the first attempt during an audio discussion on Twitter. “We get far enough away from the launchpad before something goes wrong, then I think I would consider that to be a success. Just don’t blow up the launchpad.”

SpaceX is livestreaming the launch, the timing of which can change depending on weather conditions and other factors. Bloomberg News is on the ground in South Padre, Texas, roughly 5 miles from the launchpad, and will be following the latest updates over the course of the launch, flight and return. All time stamps reflect US East Coast time.

Starship Blasts Off (9:33 a.m.)

After years of development and numerous delays, Starship finally began its first journey into space. The engines fired up and craft lifted off at approximately 9:33 a.m. Eastern time.

Although the spacecraft made it through maximum aerodynamic pressure and the sound barrier, it ultimately exploded when it failed to execute its second-stage separation manoeuvre.

“As if the flight test was not exciting enough, Starship experienced a rapid unscheduled disassembly before stage separation,” SpaceX said on Twitter.

SpaceX said Starship teams will continue to review data and work toward their next flight test.

“With a test like this, success comes from what we learn, and today’s test will help us improve Starship’s reliability as SpaceX seeks to make life multi-planetary.”

A Brief Hold (9:31 a.m.)

About 30 seconds to launch in its initial countdown, SpaceX paused the countdown to reassess. It started counting back down at 40 seconds after resolving an issue.

A 4/20 Launch (9:18 a.m.)

It almost feels predetermined that SpaceX would attempt a launch of Starship on Thursday, April 20th, a.k.a. 4/20. Musk has long been obsessed with the date and number, which is associated with smoking marijuana.

He was accused of defrauding investors after tweeting he had “funding secured” to take Tesla Inc. private at $420 a share.

Testifying in a lawsuit stemming from that claim earlier this year, Musk said “there is some karma around 420,” prompting laughter in the courtroom.

Musk also seemed to will the launch date into existence. As SpaceX readied Starship for its first launch, he tweeted that he predicted the first launch attempt would be close to the “end of third week of April, aka…”

When the launch was originally set for April 17, Musk tweeted that he had “a feeling it might get delayed 3 days…” And in a reply to a meme illustrating the possibility of Starship launching on April 20th, Musk wrote that it was “Fate.”

The Scene Outside (9:13 a.m.)

The media are gathered along the shoreline of South Padre island in Texas, roughly five miles (or so, Google tells me) from the Starbase launchpad. When we were here on Monday, it was a truly beautiful viewing location; there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the waves were lapping the shore in front of us.

Today is a bit different. There are clouds in the sky and it’s quite humid, but it’s cleared up a bit as the launch time’s approached.

Credit – Taken from –

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