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News > Science and Tech

SpaceX's Starship Explodes in Second Test Flight

  • Starship rocket takeoff, Nov. 18, 2023.

    Starship rocket takeoff, Nov. 18, 2023. | Photo: X/ @SpaceX

Published 19 November 2023

"Success comes from what we learn, and today's test will help us improve Starship's reliability," the company said.

On Saturday, SpaceX's giant new rocket Starship blasted off on its second test flight, but exploded minutes after launch.


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Starship successfully lifted off under the power of all 33 Raptor engines on the Super Heavy Booster at about 7:04 a.m. Central Time from SpaceX's Starbase in Texas, and made it through a successful stage separation.

However, the booster experienced a "rapid unscheduled disassembly" after stage separation and boostback burn while Starship's engines fired for several minutes on its way to space. It was the second integrated flight testing with the second launch of Starship.

"With a test like this, success comes from what we learn, and today's test will help us improve Starship's reliability as SpaceX seeks to make life multiplanetary," SpaceX said, adding that it will share more information as the team reviews data from Saturday's test.

SpaceX made the first test flight of SpaceX's fully integrated Starship and Super Heavy rocket in April this year, but the vehicle exploded after liftoff from the launch pad in SpaceX's Starbase in Boca Chica, South Texas.

SpaceX's Starship spacecraft and Super Heavy rocket, collectively referred to as Starship, represent a fully reusable transportation system designed to carry both crew and cargo to Earth orbit, the Moon, Mars and beyond.

Starship will be the world's most powerful launch vehicle ever developed, capable of carrying up to 150 metric tonnes fully reusable and 250 metric tonnes expendable.

NASA awarded SpaceX contracts worth several billions of U.S. dollars to use Starship to ferry American astronauts to the surface of the moon under the space agency's Artemis program. NASA has announced plans to use a Starship to put astronauts on the lunar surface in 2025.

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