SpaceX launched its maiden Starship with the top stage and Super Heavy rocket. Today’s launch of the almost 400-foot-tall combined launch vehicle comprised a flawless lift-off and climbed to and through the Max Q period, the launch’s most stressful phase.
The first orbital rocket test proceeded well until the first stage was supposed to detach from the upper stage.
Instead, the first stage continued to fire its engines, while the higher stage did not separate or light up its engines as planned. On their live stream, SpaceX noted that three of the booster’s Raptor engines may not have fired, but that didn’t hinder lift-off or ascension.
Overall, a success: SpaceX founder Elon Musk previously stated that Starship might not launch on its maiden attempt.
SpaceX’s Kate Tice noted on the live broadcast that the team would consider anything beyond getting off the pad a win in this instance, with the primary purpose of the flight being to acquire crucial vehicle data to improve future orbital flights. Unfortunately, both stages exploded today, destroying the vehicle.
SpaceX said today’s flight path was over uninhabited land and water to avoid debris. SpaceX will reveal more about the test mission and its results as it analyzes the launch.