Hi friends, it’s your Space Coast correspondent James Sparvero and wow, was the second flight test of the largest, most powerful rocket in human history just mesmerizing.
Were you one of the millions who watched SpaceX’s livestream Saturday morning 🚀? Lasting twice as long as the first fully-integrated Starship test, this launch may have also ended explosively, but once again, SpaceX is calling it progress.
The major improvement I noticed immediately was that all of the super heavy booster’s engines were working this time! Seeing all 33 of those dots lit up in the bottom corner of my screen gave me a great feeling about how I expected the rest of the test to go.
Then, however, after another first as the spacecraft smoothly separated from the booster, we watched the booster explode. One of the broadcasters said a “rapid unscheduled disassembly” (jargon for ‘it blew up!’) just occurred.
The spacecraft met its fiery fate too as contact was lost. SpaceX suspects it also blew up over the Gulf of Mexico, but not before it reached space at an altitude of 92 miles.
Back in April, SpaceX said it would learn from the mishaps of the first test, and that sentiment was echoed during Saturday’s broadcast.
“We got so much data, and that will all help us to improve for our next flight,” Kate Tice of SpaceX said.
Like the first time, SpaceX will have to wait on the FAA to look into what went wrong with this explosive test and make more corrections before a third one can happen. That’s got me wondering more about how Starship’s evolving schedule could impact the Artemis III timeline.
We’ve talked so much about how NASA needs Starship to land astronauts on the moon during that mission which is currently projected to happen in just two years 🌕.
Here’s hoping the next flight test won’t have to wait another seven months.
📧 Have any topics you’d like to discuss? Send me an email here.
👋 Here’s a little bit more about me.
Little did I know when watching Apollo 13 in the third grade that 20 years later, I was destined for a thrilling career as your Space Coast multimedia journalist.
Chemistry and biology weren’t so interesting to me in high school science, but I loved my Earth and Space class (Thanks, Mr. Lang).
Then in 2016, I traded Capitol correspondent in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for space correspondent. I’m proud that my first live report at News 6 happened to be the first time SpaceX landed a Falcon 9 booster on a barge. What seems so routine now was a really big deal that day in our newsroom!
From there, I’ve covered the Commercial Crew program and the return of human spaceflight to Kennedy Space Center (Demo-2 launched on my 33rd birthday!)
Now, as our coverage looks forward to missions to the moon and Mars, I often tell others I have the best job in local news. Because after all I’ve seen so far, I think I would be bored working somewhere else. I even bought a house near the Cape with a great view to the north so I never miss a launch even when I’m not working.
After seven years on the beat, though, I still consider myself a young space reporter and I always look forward to learning something new with every assignment.
Have a great launch into the rest of your week!