HomeSpace & AstronomyStarship launch damaged the pad and exceeded expert expectations

Starship launch damaged the pad and exceeded expert expectations

SpaceX launched the Starship rocket for the first time a few days ago. In some respects, it was successful, but it also had to face some failures.

For example, a large hole was burnt out at the bottom of the launch pad and severely damaged, and the environment of nearby residential areas was also affected. The starship is currently grounded pending FAA investigation.

The Starship rocket ignited for the first time and left the launch pad on April 20, and exploded about 4 minutes into the flight.

The results of the mission are generally considered to be successful, but more and more follow-up images show that there are many problems waiting to be resolved behind the success.

The most serious problem may be that the launch pad was blown wide by the fire from the super-heavy booster engines taking off.

SpaceX’s Starship starport-min

The construction of the launch pad is as complex as the rocket, and the SpaceX Boca Chica launch site (nicknamed Starport Starbase) is an exclusive place to launch a series of starship rockets.

The launch pad is made of a concrete material called Fondag, and based on the results of previous static fire tests, engineers believed that the launch pad could withstand at least one full ignition of the super-heavy booster engine, which was obviously misjudged.

The test launch pad suffered a “catastrophic disintegration”, and the soil on the ground was also blown up and a large amount of dust covered the nearby communities, which may cause potential hazards to the health of residents and the local environment.

SpaceX CEO Musk said the team had discussed using water-cooled steel plates (digging channels in the steel plates and letting water flow through them) to disperse the heat generated by the engine ignition.

Preventing damage to the concrete, which also saves the cost of digging the rocket splitter under the launch pad.

However, because the new steel plate was not ready, the launch pad was put on the battlefield. Some commentators believe that the starship rocket was forced to test for fun before the launch pad was ready.

According to Musk, SpaceX is about to install water-cooled steel plates on the launch pad and try to launch the starship again within 1 to 2 months, although the fact is that the starship will not be able to take off again until the FAA completes the accident investigation.

In addition, 5~8 of the 33 Raptor engines of the B7 super heavy booster seem to have failed to ignite.

It’s not clear what caused the engine to fail, but one possibility is that fragments from the shattered launch pad hit the engine.

SpaceX lowered the mission success threshold before the first test flight of the Starship, claiming that as long as the rocket leaves the ground, it will be considered a success.

In addition, SpaceX is already known for its high risk and high tolerance, and has also made impressive progress. Therefore, SpaceX wants to blow up its own rocket. People immediately pay attention.

Mehmet S. Kaya
Mehmet S. Kaya
Mehmet is one of the administrator of Teknonel. As a software developer, he loves to share his knowledge in related topics. He is highly familiar with the editorial process from the inception of an article idea, through the iterative process, publishing, and performance analysis as well as product reviews.

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