SpaceX’s Starship Test Flight Encounters Setback, Losing Contact During Key Stage

SpaceX's Starship Test Flight Encounters Setback, Losing Contact During Key Stage

SpaceX faced a setback in its pursuit of advancing space travel as its Starship test flight encountered difficulties, leading to the activation of the automated flight termination system and loss of contact about 10 minutes into the journey. This marks the second unsuccessful attempt at a near-orbital trip for Starship, following an earlier failure in April where the spacecraft exploded four minutes after liftoff. The recent launch took place at SpaceX’s Starbase facility in Boca Chica, Texas.

While the 33 Raptor engines ignited correctly, and the stage separation from the Super Heavy booster proceeded as planned, contact with the Starship was lost during the ascent, triggering the automated flight termination system. Despite SpaceX’s acknowledgment of a successful start and even with the Super Heavy booster’s “rapid unscheduled disassembly,” the mission ultimately had to be aborted.

The intended journey for Starship aimed for a 90-minute voyage, reaching an altitude of about 146 miles and scheduled to splash down off the coast of Kauai, Hawaii. The setback follows a mishap during the first test flight in April, attributed to propellant leakage and subsequent fires affecting the connection with the primary flight computer.

SpaceX had implemented upgrades to address these issues, including a hot-stage separation system and electronic thrust vector control system for Super Heavy’s engines. Environmental assessments and safety reviews focused on mitigating debris concerns and preventing fires and leaks. SpaceX’s water deluge system, designed to reduce heat and noise during launches, was highlighted as a key improvement. The Fish and Wildlife Service conducted an environmental assessment, concluding that the upgraded launch site and rocket reduce environmental risks. However, concerns lingered regarding water contamination from the deluge system. A lawsuit filed in May against the FAA and SpaceX by local and environmental groups over potential environmental harms remains ongoing.

The setback poses challenges for SpaceX’s timeline, as Starship plays a crucial role in planned missions, including NASA’s Artemis program for moon landings, crewed spaceflights with private passengers, and other ambitious projects. Despite the recent hurdles, SpaceX remains committed to advancing space exploration and addressing technical challenges in pursuing interplanetary travel.

TechGolly editorial team led by Al Mahmud Al Mamun. He worked as an Editor-in-Chief at a world-leading professional research Magazine. Rasel Hossain and Enamul Kabir are supporting as Managing Editor. Our team is intercorporate with technologists, researchers, and technology writers. We have substantial knowledge and background in Information Technology (IT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Embedded Technology.

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