Two images from Starship’s first fully integrated launch in April show the rocket taking off then tumbling out of control before blowing up
SpaceX; Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post via Getty Images; Insider
Elon Musk said he thinks Starship has a “decent chance” of reaching orbit on its second test flight.
SpaceX‘s megarocket first tried taking off in April, but it exploded a few minutes after liftoff.
This time, Musk said Starship’s engines will be lit while it’s essentially still connected to its booster.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said Thursday that he thinks the company’s Starship vehicle has a decent shot at making orbit on its second test flight.
Starship took off in April for the first time, but it blew up after the spaceship failed to separate from its booster a few minutes into the flight — an outcome Musk had anticipated.
This time around, he said the company has introduced hot staging, which means the engines of the spaceship will be lit while it’s essentially still connected to its booster.
Speaking at an event on Thursday, Musk said he believes hot staging is “the riskiest part of the flight,” and that if Starship “doesn’t blow itself up” at that point, “then I think we’ve got a decent chance” to reach orbit.
He also told the journalist Ashlee Vance in June that Starship’s chance of reaching orbit the second time is “much higher than the last one.”
“Maybe it’s, like, 60%,” he said, adding that “it depends on how well we do at stage separation.”
Abhi Tripathi, former mission director for SpaceX’s Dragon spaceship, told Insider that Musk is “usually not as optimistic” as he seems now.
Tripathi added that he would consider this second test flight to be a success if two things happen.
“One, the damage to the launch mound and ground infrastructure is minimal, and two, at least 32 of the 33 engines stay lit.”
“If I see those two things,” he said, “I don’t care what happens afterward. I will consider this a smashing success.”
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