Insider Wales Sports: SpaceX reveals propellant venting as the cause of second Starship failure

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has provided some insights into the recent failure of the Starship upper stage during a test flight in November. Musk revealed that a propellant dump was the cause of the destruction, stating that the vehicle would have successfully reached orbit if it had a payload. According to Musk, the need to vent liquid oxygen propellant near the end of the burn would have been unnecessary with a payload present.

Despite the setback, Musk expressed confidence for the upcoming Starship test flight, which is expected to take place in February pending the receipt of an updated launch license. This next flight will incorporate additional tests, including an in-space engine burn from the header tank and propellant transfer from the header tank to the main propellant tank.

In addition to discussing the test flight, Musk also shared plans to test the “Pez dispenser” payload door for deploying full-sized Starlink V2 satellites. This technology aims to increase the launch rate of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets.

Looking ahead, SpaceX has ambitious goals for the future. The company aims to perform 150 launches in 2024, demonstrating its dedication to advancing space exploration and commercial satellite deployment. Furthermore, SpaceX has set a goal of achieving a remarkable turnaround time of less than 24 launches between launches from the same launch pad by the end of the year.

These latest developments showcase SpaceX’s resilience and determination to overcome challenges in its mission to revolutionize space travel. With each test flight, the company inches closer to achieving its goal of making space exploration more accessible and efficient.

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About the Author: Forrest Morton

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