Musk: Starship rocket test flight ‘roughly’ what he expected

Stephen Neukam

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said the result of the most recent test launch of his company’s Starship rocket, which exploded in midair a few minutes into the flight earlier this month, was “roughly” what he expected.

“Basically, the outcome was roughly .. what I expected, and maybe exceeding my expectations,” Musk said during a Twitter Spaces chat.

Musk said he was hoping the rocket would lift off “with minimal damage to the pad and I’m glad to report that the pad damage is quite small and it looks like it can be repaired quite quickly.”

Musk added that he was hoping to get “significant inflight data, particularly with respect to the pressurizing of the tanks with propellant liquids.”

The rocket, the largest ever built with goals of one day returning humans to the moon and reaching Mars, exploded minutes after its launch, with a number of engines failing mid flight.

Musk noted on Saturday that the automatic flight termination system, designed to blow up the rocket if it strays off course, took “way too long” to trigger.

Musk also said the company will “probably” be ready to launch again ” ready to launch “in six to eight weeks.”

A federal investigation into the latest test may delay that timeline, however.

“An anomaly occurred during the ascent and prior to stage separation resulting in a loss of the vehicle,” the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said in a statement following the launch.

“No injuries or public property damage have been reported. The FAA will oversee the mishap investigation of the Starship / Super Heavy test mission,” the agency added. “A return to flight of the Starship / Super Heavy vehicle is based on the FAA determining that any system, process, or procedure related to the mishap does not affect public safety.”

The blast zone on the ground at a company facility in Boca Chica, Texas is also under scrutiny by federal regulators, as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said the blast sent large concrete chunks, steel and other objects flying, including a plume cloud of concrete that deposited debris up to six and a half miles away from the launch site. It also ignited a three-and-a-half acre fire south of the launch pad, but no animal or bird deaths were reported.

Courtesy: thehill