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Elon Musk's Rocket EXPLODES In Ball Of Flames During Disastrous Launch


Elon Musk’s SpaceX's Starship exploded into a ball of fire on 4/20 during its second failed orbital launch in a week.

The world’s most powerful rocket – not manned - lifted off the pad in South Texas and cleared the launchpad, its first milestone.

But it began tumbling four minutes into the flight as it prepared to separate the Super Heavy booster from Starship.

The failure sent both stages crashing toward Earth, but they imploded mid-descent.

Elon Musk claimed last month that there was a 50 percent chance his spacecraft could explode during the launch.

The billionaire congratulated the SpaceX team on an exciting test launch of Starship about 20 minutes after the explosion.

The mission took off with promise when Starship ignited its engines and lifted off the launch pad at the Boca Chica, Texas facility.

Cheers erupted in the control room as staff watched the massive vehicle leave the ground.

The Super Heavy booster was expected to separate from Starship three minutes into the mission, but the pair failed to part ways  - and they both came crashing down toward Earth.

This was the second attempt at the first orbital launch. Monday was the initial date, but the mission was scrubbed due to a glitch moments before takeoff.

Musk tweeted Monday: 'A pressurant valve appears to be frozen, so unless it starts operating soon, no launch today.'

He has also said that SpaceX is building several more Starship rockets and that overall he believes there is an 80 percent chance one of them will reach orbit before the end of the year.

The mission – which would have sent Starship around Earth once before it splashes down in the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii – would have been an early milestone in Musk's ambition for the craft to carry people and cargo to the moon and Mars.

This equates to the force needed to propel almost 100 Concordes at takeoff.

No spaceship is currently capable of sending humans to the Red Planet — but all that could change with the development of Starship.

Its creation is part of Musk's grander vision of making us a 'multi-planetary species', first by starting a human colony on Mars and even getting to the point of building cities.

That may seem ambitious, but the tech supremo's long-term objective for Starship is for it to possibly carry people to destinations in the 'greater Solar System', including gas giants such as Jupiter or one of its possibly-habitable moons.

The thinking is that if there were ever a global apocalypse on Earth, the human race would have a better chance of survival if people lived on different worlds in our solar system.

Starship will be capable of carrying up to 100 people to the Red Planet on a journey that is 250 times further than the moon and would take around nine months each way.

Musk and SpaceX have remained tight-lipped about a lot of the details regarding Starship, including images of what the inside will look like, but the 51-year-old has previously said he is looking to install around 40 cabins in the payload area near the front of the upper stage.

'You could conceivably have five or six people per cabin if you really wanted to crowd people in,' the Tesla, SpaceX, and Twitter boss added.

'But I think mostly we would expect to see two or three people per cabin, and so nominally about 100 people per flight to Mars.'

The Martian surface is not the only destination for Starship, however.

In April 2021, NASA announced that it had selected SpaceX's next-generation vehicle as the first crewed lunar lander for its Artemis III mission — due to put the first woman and first person of color on the moon in 2025.

The Starship HLS – or Starship Human Landing System – will include SpaceX's Raptor engines, while also pulling inspiration from the Falcon and Dragon vehicles' designs.

It will feature a spacious cabin and two airlocks for astronaut moonwalks.

However, 2025 won't be the Starship HLS' first moon landing. That's because NASA wants the vehicle to perform an uncrewed test touchdown before it returns human boots to the lunar surface for the first time since 1972.

The other uses for Starship are to deposit satellites into low-Earth orbit and possibly carry out space tourism trips.

It is currently scheduled for sometime this year, but with Starship not yet having completed a successful orbital launch, that date seems poised to slip.

Musk has previously estimated the total development cost of the Starship project to be between $2 billion (£1.6 billion) and $10 billion (£8 billion).

He later said it would probably be 'closer to two or three [billion] than it is to 10.'

The idea for the Super Heavy dates back to November 2005, when Musk first discussed his desire to create a rocket he then termed BFR or Big F***ing rocket.

Since then, other SpaceX launch vehicles have followed, all building up to the development of the Super Heavy.

In January, Starship and its accompanying craft achieved a major milestone after being fuelled up and fully stacked for the first time ever in what is known as a 'wet dress rehearsal'.

Altogether, the spaceship towers 395ft (120m), making it the biggest and most powerful rocket ever built.

It is capable of generating almost double the lift-off thrust of NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) mega moon rocket that sent an empty capsule to the moon and back late last year.

This is what will be used to launch the Orion spacecraft into orbit for the human-crewed Artemis II in 2024, as well as the proposed moon-landing mission Artemis III the year after.

The latter will see the first woman and first person of color walk on the lunar surface, more than 50 years after humans last landed on the moon when Apollo 17 touched down in 1972.

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