The second flight test of SpaceX’s Starship, prepared in just seven months, took place on November 18. It has not been crowned with success, but the progress has been truly spectacular.
At no charge
Everyone remembers the first flight test of the megalauncher of SpaceXon April 20: it ended with a resounding explosion, not without having ravaged part of the firing point of the Starbasethe Californian operator’s test center located in Boca Chicasouth of Texas.
The next day, bulldozers were at work filling in the area.
Then, in record time, “corrective actions” were carried out on the launcher and the launch procedures, as requested by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), while the launch pad was refurbished.
While everything had been ready for several weeks at Starbase, the official authorization came on November 15.
Twice as long as in April
The earth shook again in South Texas on November 18 at 7:02 a.m. local time.
The Super Heavy B9 ignited its 33 engines perfectly Raptortaking the Starship S25 to an altitude of approximately 73 km.
The separation occurred successfully after 2 minutes and 48 seconds, but the Super Heavy was destroyed a few seconds later, the extinction of its engines and its trajectory not appearing nominal.
The Starship, for its part, continued its mission until the eighth minute of flight, at an altitude of 148 km.
The signal was then lost, visibly testifying to the destruction of the vessel before the planned cessation of propulsion.
The glass is half full
If the test was short-lived, SpaceX can see it as a partial success, since the separation between the Super Heavy and the Starship was able to take place this time.
Today it remains to analyze the telemetry and understand why the Starship was destroyed.
But, at the rate SpaceX is moving forward and being optimistic, a third test could take place… as early as next January…