The mega-rocket Starship of the American space company SpaceX was not launched as planned on Monday at 3 p.m. at the launch site Starbase, in southern Texas. As a result, the first test flight has been postponed and will not occur today.
SpaceX boss Elon Musk says the launch cannot proceed due to a “frozen valve”. The company itself vaguely refers to a “Stage 1 problem”. “The rocket will not be launched today,” SpaceX said on Twitter. We are now looking at a new moment for the launch. Many processes have to be restarted, so that won’t happen immediately. SpaceX states it will take at least 48 hours to make a new attempt.
The postponement of the launch is a disappointment because it was awaited with great interest worldwide. With a length of 120 meters, the mega-rocket Starship would be the largest rocket ever to be launched into the air.
The intention was to launch the Starship crewless from the Starbase launch site in southern Texas at 3 p.m. (Belgian time). The booster, nicknamed Super Heavy, should separate and crash into the Gulf of Mexico three minutes later. The upper stage would then fly one more circle around the Earth. It was expected to disappear into the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii an hour and a half after launch.
The test flight is an essential step towards the ultimate goal: bringing people to Mars. Elon Musk, the American owner of SpaceX, wants to commercialize space travel with his Starship. The rocket would accommodate 100 “tourists”. In the first phase, the moon would be the destination in particular, but in the long term, Musk hopes to plant a human colony on Mars.
Methane is therefore used as fuel, a gas that can be produced on Mars, making it possible to travel back to Earth.