The Mars Society today congratulated SpaceX for the first flight test of its fully reusable Starship space launch system. The test flight, which for the first time launched the Starship upper stage integrated with its Superheavy booster, was, by a factor of two, the most powerful rocket launch in human history.
Lasting over three minutes, the flight test revealed numerous issues with the system, including insufficient protection of the launch infrastructure, failures during launch or flight of eight out of the Superheavy’s 33 Raptor engines, and failure of the system to separate the Starship from the Superheavy as designed. These issues can now be corrected in preparation for the next flight test.
Commenting on the test, Mars Society President Dr. Robert Zubrin said “The Starship test flight today was a remarkable achievement. The vehicle was able to survive numerous subsystem failures to make it through Max Q and all the way to stage separation, thereby providing a wealth of data to SpaceX engineers to now correct and then move forward.
“SpaceX’s methodology is to build, fly, crash, and fix what went wrong, then try again, each time pushing further into the flight envelope. On its first try, Starship made it halfway through its flight envelope. It may take them a few more tries before they make it all the way and become fully operational, finally achieving the dream of cheap access to orbit. But they will do it.
“And when that day comes, the human race will be halfway to anywhere.”