Elon Musk’s Starship explodes midair during first integrated flight test

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Elon Musk’s Starship explodes midair during first integrated flight test


Jesse O’Neill

April 20, 2023 9:52am 




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Elon Musk’s SpaceX launched the world’s most powerful rocket, its 400-foot-tall Starship, on a historic test flight Thursday morning — only for it to explode mid-air just minutes later.

The giant rocket – which officials say will one day be capable of bringing 100 people to Mars – lifted off from the launch pad in Boca Chica, Texas a few minutes after Thursday’s launch window opened at 8:28 a.m. local time (9:28 a.m. ET).

Footage of the launch showed that the rocket — which SpaceX hopes will take people to the moon as early as 2025 — failed to separate from its booster and began spinning before it blew up as it traveled more than 1,300 mph 18 miles above the earth.

No one was on board the 400-foot-long rocket during the doomed launch – which was set to send the vessel orbiting around the world before crashing into the ocean near Hawaii. 

Despite the explosion, the test run drew cheers from the control center and onlookers on the ground after the ship made it off the launchpad and into the atmosphere.

The launch represented a major step toward SpaceX’s goal of sending humans back to the moon and eventually to Mars.

Musk congratulated his team on an “exciting” test flight, noting that they had learned a lot for the next attempt in a few months.

Starship explosion
Musk’s Starship rocket exploded minutes after liftoff Thursday.

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