SpaceX’s second test flight of its Starship spacecraft — which it hopes will one day ferry humans to the moon and Mars — ended in an explosion Saturday morning minutes after taking off from the company’s spaceport in Boca Chica, Texas. Starship launched just after 8AM ET atop a Super Heavy rocket, the largest rocket in the world.
Moments after completing stage separation, when the Super Heavy booster detached itself from Starship, the rocket’s first stage exploded. Starship, however, continued on for several more minutes, surpassing the flight time of its predecessor. A faint explosion could be seen in the livestream around the 8-minute mark, and hosts confirmed soon after that they’d lost contact with the craft.
The booster experienced a rapid unscheduled disassembly shortly after stage separation while Starship’s engines fired for several minutes on its way to space
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) November 18, 2023
But, as with the last test that ended in an explosion, SpaceX is still billing it as a success. Kate Tice, one of the livestream’s hosts and a quality engineering manager for SpaceX, said it was “an incredibly successful day, even though we did have a RUD — or rapid unscheduled disassembly — of both the Super Heavy booster and the ship. We got so much data and that will all help to improve for our next flight.”