The quick, unplanned dismantling of Starship was triggered by the fuel that was left over after it was purged due to its lack of cargo.
The rocket known as the SpaceX Starship is not just the future of the corporation, but it is also an essential component of NASA’s overall strategy for the Moon. Since 2012, when CEO Elon Musk stated that the vehicle would be called the Mars Colonial Transporter, the private spaceflight company has been working on Starship. It is possible that Starship will travel to Mars in the future, but for the time being, SpaceX is concentrating on projects that are closer to home. During its first two test flights, Starship has experienced an explosion, with the most recent one occurring in November of 2023. At this point, Musk has disclosed the reason behind the “rapid unscheduled disassembly” that occurred during the most recent test of Starship. He blames the responsibility on a propellant dump, which was triggered because to the fact that Starship was too light.
After approximately eight minutes of flight, the second Starship launch prototype was able to effectively disengage itself from the connection with the Super Heavy booster. It was not even possible for the first flight to reach that far. Regrettably, the explosion that occurred practically shortly after the introduction of Super Heavy had occurred. Several minutes later, Starship also exploded, and it did so right as it was about to deactivate its engines.
During a meeting with all of the company’s employees that took place at the Boca Chica launch facility, Musk discussed the fate of the final Starship prototype. “Flight 2 actually almost made it to orbit,” Musk told reporters. “The reason that it actually didn’t quite make it to orbit was we vented the liquid oxygen.” Although it is not unheard of for rocket launches to involve this method, it does not typically result in vehicles exploding immediately after the launch. It was not explained by Musk how the rocket itself exploded due to the release of fuel that was not required. If you watch the video below, you will be able to watch this portion of the presentation at the 449-minute mark.
The inference that can be drawn from this is that Starship functions normally, but the testing arrangement was the cause of the failure of the second flight. Musk informed the assembled SpaceX employees that the discharge of propellant was essential due to the fact that Starship was not carrying any payload. If the payload bay had been completely loaded, the Raptor engines of the craft would have used up all of the fuel that was available.
There is no way that Starship would have been able to enter orbit on the second mission, even if it had been completely successful. It was intended that Starship would make an attempt at a soft water landing after traveling from Texas to the Pacific Ocean at a high speed and in a high altitude. According to Musk, the third test flight might take place as soon as the following month starts moving forward. Despite the fact that this will also be a suborbital test, it would be a step in the right direction to simply complete the flight without going through a quick disassembly that was not anticipated.
Should the subsequent mission be able to avoid exploding, it will initiate the process of establishing the foundation for SpaceX’s participation in the Artemis Program. It is planned that Starship will perform an engine burn by utilizing the header tank that is located at the very top of the rocket. Additionally, it will make an effort to transfer fuel between the header tank and the main tanks. At some point in the future, this will result in the transfer of fuel between Starships, which is essential for SpaceX’s planned landings of Artemis. SpaceX now has some time to prepare for the first Artemis landing, which NASA has lately put back to the year 2026. By the end of this year or the beginning of the following year, Musk predicts that Starship will be in orbit and transferring fuel.