On April 20, SpaceX launched its first test flight of Starship, the biggest rocket ever built. The 400-foot-tall, stainless steel ship took off from Starbase, a spaceport in southern Texas. No people were on board for this launch.
“I’m not saying it will get to orbit, but I am guaranteeing excitement,” SpaceX founder Elon Musk said of the planned launch, in March.
As it turned out, Starship did not get into orbit. The plan was for it to make a 90-minute trip partway around the planet. But about four minutes after liftoff, the rocket exploded. Even so, just getting the rocket off the launchpad was a major success for SpaceX.
For now, the company is focused on getting a Starship rocket ready to take NASA astronauts to the moon by 2025, and eventually, to Mars. It has room for 100 passengers.
SpaceX could make spaceflight a profitable business. Its rockets are designed to be reusable. This will make it less expensive to send everything from people to satellites into space.
For at least a few minutes, people who gathered on nearby South Padre Island to watch the launch got their excitement. As Starship took off, they screamed: “Go, baby, go!”
Stop and Think! Why is the Starship rocket newsworthy? How might it change the space business? What else would you like to learn about Starship?