SpaceX launched its Starship vehicle for the second time on Saturday.
Unlike the first test flight of the world’s most powerful rocket in April, which ended in a spectacular fireball just minutes after launch, this time the second stage Starship spacecraft successfully separated from the first stage’s Super Heavy booster. was successful. However, a few minutes later, the booster exploded while descending, while the spacecraft also failed to complete its flight.
Nevertheless, SpaceX lauded the mission’s success in achieving phase separation, and the data collected will be used to improve the flight system for the third test flight.
But it wasn’t just the rocket that SpaceX engineers were evaluating. They were also curious to see how the new launchpad design fared under the enormous pressure and force generated by the Super Heavy booster during takeoff from SpaceX’s Starbase facility in Boca Chica, Texas.
It turned out that it performed very well, with Elon Musk saying on X (formerly Twitter) on Sunday that the pad was in “good condition” and no renovations were necessary for the next flight.
This is a significant improvement compared to the first test flight in April, in which the Super Heavy’s 33 Raptor engines completely destroyed the launchpad, spreading concrete and other debris over a large area.
The launchpad design included what Musk previously described as a new “mega-steel pancake” designed to provide protection against the 17 million pounds of thrust generated by the Super Heavy booster during liftoff. joins together.
Following Saturday’s test mission, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said no injuries or property damage were reported as a result of the mid-air explosions. The FAA will now oversee the SpaceX-led investigation into the mission before making a decision on any conditions needed for the third test flight.