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  • Alyssa Kornacki

SpaceX Starship explodes during first test flight

By Alyssa Kornacki, News Reporter

The massive Starship rocket created by Elon Musk's SpaceX exploded above the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday in a massive fireball just several minutes after launching.

Despite the spectacular end of the rocket, SpaceX says they are pleased with the results of the launch. Their goal was simply to make it off the launch pad.

A few seconds before liftoff, the countdown to launch was stopped for some last-minute issues found with the rocket. But a few minutes later, fire surfaced from under the craft and it launched upwards, hitting speeds of over 1,000 km per hour (about 621 mph), according to the livestream.

Around two minutes and 40 seconds into the flight, the rocket was supposed to separate from the booster that carried it up into the Earth's atmosphere and engage its primary thrusters.

However, that didn't happen. A livestream of the engines inside the rocket showed they failed to ignite, and Starship failed to disengage from its booster. A few seconds later, it began spinning in the air before exploding in a fiery ball.

Musk tweeted that his team "learned a lot" for the next test launch to come "in a few months."

None of the parts of the rocket will be recovered. If everything had gone as planned, the first-stage booster would have dropped into the Gulf of Mexico. The spacecraft on top would have continued eastward, passing over the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans before going down near Hawaii. The whole flight, if successful, would have lasted only 90 minutes.

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