World's biggest rocket Starship explodes during test flight

SpaceX rocket
SpaceX's next-generation Starship spacecraft atop its powerful Super Heavy rocket lifts off. Photo: SpaceX/Handout via Reuters

Texas: Minutes after the successful launch, SpaceX's starship rocket exploded in the sky after experiencing a rapid unscheduled 'disassembly' during the first test flight. Starship was launched, with the Super Heavy booster firing up its Raptor engines and lifting off the pad a little after 8:28 a.m. CT (6:58a-pm IST) from Starbase in Texas.

The two-stage rocketship, standing taller than the Statue of Liberty at 394 feet (120 m) high, blasted off from the company's Starbase spaceport and test facility east of Brownsville, Texas,for what SpaceX hoped, at best, would be a 90-minute debut flight into space.

A live SpaceX webcast of the lift-off showed the rocketship rising from the launch tower into the morning sky as the Super Heavy's raptor engines roared to life in a ball of flame and billowing clouds of exhaust and water vapour. But less than four minutes into the flight, the upper-stage Starship failed to separate as designed from the lower-stage Super Heavy, and the combined vehicle was seen flipping end over end before exploding.

Nevertheless, SpaceX officials on the webcast cheered the feat of getting the fully integrated Starship and booster rocket off the ground for a clean launch and declared the brief episode a successful test flight.

Elon Musk's SpaceX aims to use Starship as a fully reusable transportation system to carry both crew and cargo to Earth orbit, help humanity return to the Moon, and travel to Mars and beyond.
( With agency inputs)

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