SpaceX’s Starship spacecraft, designed to send astronauts to the Moon and Mars, exploded minutes after its liftoff in a test flight in Texas on April 20. SpaceX said in a statement that the spacecraft “experienced multiple engines out” during its ascent, then “lost altitude and began to tumble,” before the “flight termination system was commanded on both the booster and the ship.” Now the CEO of SpaceX and billionaire Elon Musk has stated that the spacecraft could be ready for relaunch in “six to eight weeks”.
The billionaire, during Twitter Spaces, on Saturday evening, stated that when the engines of Starship, 30 out of 33 of which fired on for the flight test, reached “full thrust,” it “probably shattered the concrete”, as per a report in CNN. Mr Musk further stated that he was “glad to report that the pad damage is actually quite small,” and it would take “six to eight weeks” to get the required infrastructure in place for another launch.
“The outcome was roughly in (line) with what I expected and, maybe slightly exceeded my expectations,” the CEO of the company said, as per the outlet.
As per the outlet, the spacecraft and launcher were destroyed over the Gulf of Mexico when the spacecraft’s flight termination or self-destruct, mechanism was activated. According to the billionaire, the flight termination system would need to be re-certified because the feature took longer than anticipated to blow up the rocket, “ensuring it didn’t careen off course”. That might affect how long it takes for the company to get a new Starship on the launch pad.
“The vehicle structural margins appear to be better than we expected. As we can tell the vehicle is actually doing somersaults towards the end and still staying intact,” Mr Musk said.
It is to be noted that the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) of the US government is overseeing the investigation. Until that evaluation is over, SpaceX is not allowed to launch another Starship vehicle. It is also not clear how much time it would take. “We aren’t going to speculate on timelines. Safety will dictate the timeline,” FAA said, as per the outlet.