SpaceX launches most powerful rocket in history in explosive debut – like many first liftoffs, Starship’s test was a successful failure.


The Conversation, Wendy Whitman Cobb 21 Apr 23

Professor of Strategy and Security Studies, Air University

Starship is almost 400 feet (120 meters) tall and weighs 11 million pounds (4.9 million kilograms). An out-of-control rocket full of highly flammable fuel is a very dangerous object, so to prevent any harm, SpaceX engineers triggered the self-destruct mechanism and blew up the entire rocket over the Gulf of Mexico.

On April 20, 2023, a new SpaceX rocket called Starship exploded over the Gulf of Mexico three minutes into its first flight ever. SpaceX is calling the test launch a success, despite the fiery end result. As aspace policy expert, I agree that the “rapid unscheduled disassembly” – the term SpaceX uses when its rockets explode – was a very successful failure.

The most powerful rocket ever built

This launch was the first fully integrated test of SpaceX’s new Starship. Starship…

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